by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Edward Hamberger writes at the Washington Examiner about one area in which American infrastructure stands out.
If death and taxes are certainties in life, so too now is the fact that America’s public infrastructure is failing. Without real leadership and dollars, this will not change.
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently graded America’s infrastructure a “D+” and estimated $4.59 trillion in needed spending over the next decade to rectify the situation. “The only infrastructure sector to receive a B in this year’s report was rail, where private freight companies have invested heavily—$27.1 billion in 2015—to improve service,” reports the Wall Street Journal, noting the grade was the highest of 16 graded sectors.
The above-satisfactory grade for rail, while far from perfect (passenger railroads face significant funding problems), clearly demonstrates that quality infrastructure requires large, sustained bankrolling. And for freight railroads, constant spending is essential because while taxpayers bankroll roads and waterways, they pay almost nothing for this vital infrastructure that moves the U.S. economy.
But the ASCE grade also demonstrates an important corollary – policy makers must curtail regulatory efforts that would impede private investments in rail infrastructure and push policies that encourage more.