Due to COVID-19 forcing businesses and restaurants to close and people to stay home, the economy is struggling. The stock market has recently seen several of its worst days in history. Luckily, Congress and the Trump Administration have been working around the clock on a stimulus package that could cost as much as $2 trillion dollars. As lawmakers put together legislation, they should consider all possible angles, including greenlighting shovel-ready infrastructure projects.
A recent Morning Consult op-ed authored by Craig Stevens, spokesperson for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now, explains how shovel-ready infrastructure projects can play a key role in boosting the economy post-COVID-19. Stevens points out that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s successful “New Deal” used large-scale infrastructure investment to put Americans back to work and inject money into the American economy post-Depression.
“Fast forward nearly 90 years, while society has made significant technological advancements, the same principles can be applied today. But rather than using taxpayer dollars to fund such infrastructure initiatives, the private sector stands ready to move. Public-private partnerships offer a unique opportunity to bolster American infrastructure — which received a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers’ on its latest report card.
“Energy infrastructure in particular offers a ripe opportunity for such partnerships. Energy projects such as pipelines, power plants, refineries and export terminals are capital-intensive, multiyear projects that support tens of thousands of high-skilled jobs. Projects such as the Permian Highway natural gas pipeline in Texas, the Line 3 pipeline replacement in Minnesota, and the optimization of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the Midwest all stand to provide significant benefits in a time when economic investment is most-needed.”
The private sector can create long-term infrastructure investment that will bolster American energy, while simultaneously benefiting the environment by lowering carbon emissions and reducing reliance on truck and train energy transport. These projects could also employ tens of thousands of skilled workers across the country while the economy bounces back from this pandemic while also increasing American energy independence.
Federal and state governments should be working together, now more than ever, and must ensure infrastructure investment is encouraged to move forward. These projects will help get people back to work and offer some stability during these uncertain times.