Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Infastructure Issue: One Week in

OK, everybody knows about this:

And you probably know that he's proposed a massive stimulus package that is now hovering at the number $900 billion, and will include everything from middle-class tax cuts to millions for the National Endownment for the Arts. My policy blog focuses on the over $350 billion appropriated for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects, as well as other legislation relating to transit and infrastructure on primarily the national level. According to one op-ed article by center-right pollster Frank Luntz, infrastructure is a unifying issue in America, in such a way as few other issues are. According to Luntz, 94% of Americans, including vast majorities from almost every grouping there is, express concern about the nation's infrastructure. 84% support more funding for it, and 81% of Americans, including 3 out of 4 Republicans, support a 1% tax increase for infrastructure spending (this in a country where substantial majorities support lower taxes). So it is clear that there is a consensus for Obama to do something about our crumbling infrastructure.

The stimulus package, including the billions for infrastructure, is snaking its way through the house and the senate, despite concerns from Senator John McCain and House Minority Leader John Boehner, who criticize Obama's plan for not coalescing to them enough (they forget that two and half months ago, a mandate was handed down AGAINST them and their party). Boehner and McCain's criticism targets the large amounts of spending in the Democrats' bill, but not specifically the infrastructure money. (Their focus is more on fringe issues, like funding for contraceptives and the NEA). Here are a few links to media coverage of the debate in Congress over the stimulus package since the 23rd:
By the way, should you want to fact-check any of my information or browse the web for additional information, my main news source is the Los Angeles Times, but others I read regularly include National Public Radio, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer (which I will almost always watch over the Hannity Show that's scheduled opposite it), The Atlantic and TIME. Occasionally, I might reference the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Politico or Bill Moyers' Journal.


  1. I hear DeFazio is trying to add 2-3 billion for more mass transit issues. Hope he succeeds. I wish these guys would realize that a quick fix isn't whats needed. See the financial bailouts. Long term serious infrastructure reform is whats needed.

  2. I quite agree, Derek...that will probably be the subject of a subsequent post..."A Dose of Promethean thinking"

    BTW, thanks for putting FDR over the top

  3. DeFazio/Nadler passed on voice vote. 3 billion more for the good guys. And Flake's amendment to bar funding for Amtrak failed. Ha ha! Being in the majority is so fun!