Ideas. Action. Results.

Dan Glickman: Hillary Clinton is right on infrastructure, but more is needed

The Hill

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Secretary Clinton published a plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure earlier this year, and is now making infrastructure investments a key part of her economic pitch to the American people. Her plan focuses on key needs like road and bridge repair, investing in public transit, increasing freight rail capacity, renovating airports and the air traffic control system, increasing broadband access, upgrading water and sewer systems, and modernizing the nation’s antiquated power grid.

Her proposal costs $275 billion and is a good start, but a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers says that the country actually needs $1.6 trillion in infrastructure spending at all levels by 2020 to bring us up to date and to make America competitive with the rest of the world.

Donald Trump has also been pushing for increased investments, but without the specificity of Secretary Clinton. At least both candidates are talking about it. The problem is that the term, “infrastructure” is a “soft” term, and needs some meat on the bone to give it meaning to the American people.

Infrastructure means millions of good paying jobs for lots of Americans who are either out of work or underemployed. In large part, the presidential campaign has properly focused on the anxiety of American workers and families over their economic future, and a large and well managed program of rebuilding our country can provide a good deal of the answers to these anxieties.

We can provide millions of good paying jobs to people who need them the most. And, by repairing and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure we can more easily move goods to domestic and international markets, making us a much more competitive country.