Dave Helling, at our own Kansas City Star, penned a terrific, maybe even important article in the paper yesterday about our government representatives and their seemingly complete ignoring of our infrastructure.
A little from the article:
Now those same voters are contemplating a $1 billion proposal to build a new airport terminal. Jackson County may soon consider a $300 million jail project. The Buck O’Neil Bridge may need a $150 million upgrade. Multibillion-dollar water and sewer repairs are underway.
It’s a familiar tale: Crumbling infrastructure, ignored for far too long, must be repaired or replaced at enormous cost.
Kansas City isn’t the only city facing these problems, of course. It’s almost a cliche: Harbors, the electric grid, highways, rail transit and water systems across the nation are falling apart more rapidly than ever.
In March, the American Society of Civil Engineers claimed the U.S. must spend $4.6 trillion by 2025 to make needed repairs to dams, highways, airports and other public facilities.
How did we get in this mess? The answer seems obvious: Repairs that should have been finished years ago were delayed or dismissed, the victim of anti-government, anti-tax fervor.
To govern is to choose, and some projects necessarily had to wait. Not everything can be built at once.
But costs never go down. Each year of delay means more expensive streets and sewers and jails and airports, as Kansas Citians know all too well.
As usual and ever, Mr. Helling is so right. Republicans in Congress, specifically, have been making sure all through the Obama years that little or no money was spent on infrastructure for fear that--gasp--the economy might improve under someone other than a Republican in the White House. Other than hating government spending of all kinds, they're no excuse to not spend on our infrastructure now.
CBS News and their "60 Minutes" program did a terrific segment on it. It was 3 years ago, in 2014.
What Mr. Helling didn't go into in the article, no doubt due to space limitations, was that it's also Republicans in our own Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City that are keeping us from repairing, improving and modernizing our infrastructure, specifically our highways and bridges.
And sure, very Republican, Right Wing, "tow the line" Senator Roy Blunt has given infrastructure spending some verbal support now and then but to date, nothing from him or Congress or his political party. The following is from 2015.
Senator Blunt Gives Lip Service to Our Infrastructure and the Work It Needs
The fact is, there is no finer or better example of needing infrastructure work and spending than right here in Missouri. Take this, for starters. It's from 2015.
In the meantime, MoDoT hasn't been able to do much but "catch up" work, the barest of upkeep on our bridges because of Republicans lack of work in Jefferson City on this issue.
Then there is our statewide Interstate 70. It, too, is a perfect example but for both the state and nation.
Our I-70, running as it does all across the state, from the Illinois border on the East to the Kansas border on the West and right through Columbia, is old, outdated, neglected and literally dangerous.
It's so big a story and subject, it's even gone international
Besides the fact that they are, we are, neglecting our infrastructure, making travel more dangerous and even difficult, to put off the repairs only costs us more, later, when we finally do fix the roads and bridges and highways and sewer systems, etc.
Then there's the fact that improved infrastructure helps business, helps commerce. It makes that business easier to conduct because we're more productive, we can travel easier and with less cost. It also naturally helps leisure travel, driving up business.
Then there's the fact that this kind of infrastructure spending reverberates through the economy, through the nation, creating jobs as well as generating new and more business.
There have been studies on it, too, of course, on infrastructure spending.
For our safety, for jobs, for growing business, for a growing economy, all, at the very least, there is every reason in the world to boost infrastructure spending both in Washington, at the Federal level, as well as in Jefferson City, on the state level.
Now I'm just hoping our local PBS station, KCPT, gets a bunch of middle-aged and older, Right Wing white men together on one of their weekly news programs to discuss it.
No urgency on I-70 from anywhere
Inaction from Jeff City
A desperate note to our representatives
in Washington and Jefferson City
Senator Blunt Said WHAT???
The Insanity of Not Funding Our Highways and Infrastructure
No expansion projects for the next five years, says MoDOT