Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Candidates' Positions on Infrastructure Spending

This article on highlights the policies proposed by Senator Obama and Senator McCain to address the nation's infrastructure funding crisis.

The problem, of course is "it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to address the nation's infrastructure problems, according to a 2005 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave the country's system a 'D.'"

In addition, "Fifty years ago, the federal government allocated 10% of its non-defense spending on infrastructure...Nowadays, the amount has shriveled to between 3.5% and 4%."

The solutions in a nutshell: "John McCain, the Republican nominee, advocates shifting financing from earmarks to high-priority projects, while Barack Obama, his Democratic challenger, would create a federally-funded bank to invest in improvement projects."

The article then assesses the opinions of "experts" on the two plans:

"Most applaud McCain for his desire to end earmarks, which they say divert money from critical projects. ...Otherwise, McCain has offered little insight into how much federal funding he'd set aside for infrastructure and what projects he'd support."

"Obama has consistently supported greater spending on infrastructure. They ["experts"] were also pleased he did not advocate suspending the federal gas tax. Most favor the creation of an infrastructure bank that can harness the financial power of the private sector, which is increasingly interested in leasing or investing in highways and airports."

However, the bottom line: "$60 billion over 10 years is a far cry from what's needed to address the nation's crumbling roads and bridges..."

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