The State of the Union address, saw the President of the United States, once again, make his case for rebuilding America’s infrastructure. And once, again, members of Congress from the Republican Party have completely ignored the issue and instead have trumpeted the Keystone Pipeline.
If you compare the fiscal and physical impact of the pipeline versus infrastructure there is no comparison. Facts are facts!
Our roads, bridges and our power grid are in desperate need of repair and improvement. The cost is estimated to be 129.2 billion dollars a year to meet our needs. To do the needed work it will take 10 years at 129 billion a year. In return 2.4 million jobs would be created.
If you look at just our bridges, the American Society of Engineers gives our bridges a D grade for being structurally deficient and or obsolete.
It has been stated that 4,000 dams need repair.
Moody’s analysis is that federal spending for infrastructure generates $1.44 per $1 spent.
One of the primary reasons for having government is to provide for the safety and well being of the public. If bridges are unsafe and you have dams in need of repair it becomes a public safety issue as well. The last bridge to collapse was in Minnesota. It left 13 people dead and 145 wounded. Who wants to be on the next bridge to collapse? We don’t need any bridges nor highways to nowhere. But we do need bridges that won’t collapse, roads that won’t harm our cars, nor any massive power outages.
The economic benefits should be obvious. Your economy is only as good as your ability to move the goods that you produce. Working on our infrastructure is only common sense if we are to remain competitive in the global economy. Good paying jobs would be created that are needed. People who work and who are paid well pay taxes and spend money, thereby reducing the debt further and increasing the purchasing power of the consumers. It is a win, win situation.
The pipeline is another matter. Let us look at a Forbes magazine article from May of 2013. Even if you look at this article which compares the jobs created by the Alaskan pipeline to the proposed Keystone pipeline, the job of building the pipeline would last 2 years. The CEO of Trans Canada has stated that 13,000 jobs would be created. The ambassador from Canada has mentioned 9,000 jobs for those two years of construction. We are talking about a 2 year time frame to construct with at most 13,000 jobs. And this analysis did not include the environmental dangers.
The oil transported in the Alaskan pipeline has been of a much cleaner type as opposed to the bunker oil that would come from the tar fields of Canada.
The Trans Canada project would take the pipeline through states that depend on the aquifers that exist beneath the surface. Water is a precious basic necessity and the concerns of the people who live in the states that the pipeline would go through should be heeded.
On one hand we have 2.4 million jobs for 10 years as opposed to 13,000 jobs for 2 years. Infrastructure jobs are more cost effective according to Moody’s and the CBO. The choice should be easy, safety and need versus a type of oil that has very little utility and that would bring huge environmental concerns to the residents through which the pipeline would pass through.
When in doubt follow the money. We the people don’t have the financial resources to lobby our legislators for their votes, like the oil and gas industry has.
Just look at the co-sponsor of the pipeline in the House of Representatives. Congressman Lee Terry of Nebraska is a key recipient of campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. He is also one of the biggest climate change deniers out there. Could it be that he has a vested interest to deny climate change?
Now don’t get me wrong, both parties are bought and paid for by lobbyists. The Koch brothers and ALEC, and all of the oil majors are big campaign contributors to OUR CONGRESS. They own them to a great degree.
Why do we not hear from the Republican Party on the need to have our roads, bridges, power grids, dams, and airports repaired? Maybe there’s just no money in it for them. They refuse to put up for a vote any infrastructure bill. They were silent on the need to do so in their response to the President’s State of the Union address. Make no mistake about it they are the party of Big Business. If big business calls they listen and vote the wishes of their big donors.
Meanwhile the Middle Class continues at risk not only in the workplace but on the roads and bridges of America. America needs to be about Main Street not Wall Street. Let’s rebuild America and make our country stronger.