Democrats can lead the way on infrastructure development in 2019

An op-ed penned by Former US Rep. Harold Ford Jr. was recently featured in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, contending it is now up to Democrats in leadership to “put forward an agenda that will deliver on what’s been absent in Washington recently – results – and set the party up to succeed in 2020.”

With partisan strife at a seemingly all-time high, Republicans and Democrats may be able to agree on one thing: infrastructure development. Ford underlines “nearly two-thirds of Americans support President Trump’s proposal to increase infrastructure spending, which is remarkable for any policy from the current White House.” And have no doubt, our infrastructure must be a priority moving forward: The American Society of Civil Engineers’ latest report card gives U.S. infrastructure a barely-passing D+ grade, and called for $2 trillion of investment by 2025 to bring our resources up to code.

As an energy-rich nation, the US must take advantage of its resources in order to meet the needs of its consumers from coast to coast. Ford writes:

Domestic shale development has positioned the United States to become a net energy exporter by 2022 for the first time since the 1950’s. This newfound energy security is creating jobs, helping address climate change and catalyzing economic growth. It has happened largely as a result of prudent public-private partnerships, which have helped deploy infrastructure to keep up with burgeoning production, including some 14,000 miles of pipeline expected to be installed this year.

However, when it comes to investments in our critical energy infrastructure, the industry has faced a series of challenges and legal hurdles. As Ford writes:

From North Dakota to the Louisiana bayous to the Texas deserts and the Appalachian woodlands, we have witnessed a sequence of events including online, courtroom and construction site fights that render it extremely difficult for new and efficient energy infrastructure to be invested in and rolled out.

All sides have to respect the regulatory process, a process designed to protect the safety of our communities and environment. Fringe tactics don’t advance the country’s interests.

As Mr. Ford concludes, it’s time for Democrats to step up and take the lead on infrastructure development. He writes:

Let’s set the right stage for progress now and even in 2020 by focusing on infrastructure and building a stronger, more durable and ready to be invested in America for the future.

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