The Washington Times published an opinion column suggesting that amid the coronavirus pandemic as members of Congress and President Trump consider multiple stimulus plans, one opportunity to stabilize the $19.39 trillion U.S. economy is to invest in America’s aging infrastructure.
As unemployment numbers rise to over 3 million, this problem could be alleviated by hiring workers across the country to develop for shovel-ready infrastructure jobs. As most of the nation remains at home, this would be an opportune time to fix America’s bridges, streets, roads and highways especially as there are less cars on the roads.
The situation is untenable; there are 200,000 miles of major highways that need repairs, repaving or rebuilt right now. There are 47,000 bridges in poor condition. And according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) the United States has 610,749 bridges and 24 percent of them are classified as both structurally and functionally deficient.
President Trump should jumpstart the job-creating effort by initiating a series of public-private partnerships by bringing together CEOs of large, medium and small-size companies with a pipeline of infrastructure projects to begin determining the best course of action. Congress can determine which areas require the most improvements then allocate the necessary funds from there. Despite current political tension, there has long been a bipartisan and historic commitment to investing in America’s roads and bridges.
There is also a historical precedent of success: President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal created the Works Progress Administration to provide jobs for the unemployed building things like post offices, bridges, schools, highways and parks. Now America has the chance to once again improve our infrastructure while providing good paying jobs to unemployed Americans.