Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Erie Times E-Edition Article-Public bank could meet our staggering need for national infrastructure repair

Posted by M. C. on October 3, 2021

This $5 trillion public bank does not rely upon the appropriations process. It does not require new federal taxes and will not increase our deficit. By repurposing existing Treasury debt, as was done previously in U.S. history, it will finance everything we need, and quickly.

In other words, It’s Free! $5 trillion of free money! Just like the free money that has decimated the employment market and is sending your food bill sky high.

A review of HR3339 is mind numbing in its tax and legislative jargon. But that is only the beginning. There will be tens of thousands of regulations dealing with implementation, enforcement (IRS :<(), tens of thousands of regulations , penalties and new buildings and untold thousands of employees spread over Washington and 50 states. Did I mention enforcement?

These are the government service charges no one ever talks about.

Think of it as a war on drugs…no, poverty…no, terrorism…infrastructure.

But it is free! And it will last forever.

Editor’s note: The following op-ed in support of a National Infrastructure Bank was submitted by a coalition of legislators and representatives of labor and political organizations from across Pennsylvania. Decades of underfunding our infrastructure, of relying upon a patchwork and reactive approaches has slammed into reality. Our nation faces unprecedented extreme weather events and other challenges from coast to coast which threaten our well-being.

Thus far, the response of Congress has been inadequate. Where the need for new infrastructure investment is $5 trillion or more, the Senate’s ‘Infrastructure and Jobs Act’ proposes just $550 billion of new spending. While we support this, it lands far short of the mark.

We, the undersigned, are rallying our citizens to demand that Congress respond to this crisis in a way which is appropriate: The establishment of a large, $5 trillion National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), as outlined in HR 3339, which is before the current session of Congress.

This $5 trillion public bank does not rely upon the appropriations process. It does not require new federal taxes and will not increase our deficit. By repurposing existing Treasury debt, as was done previously in U.S. history, it will finance everything we need, and quickly. We will be able to build multiple layers at the same time, such as water, sewer, rail, power, all of which inhabit the same space.

Infrastructure requires concerted federal action. We need a new power grid, complete broadband access, a new high speed rail system, and large-scale water projects like those last erected under President Franklin Roosevelt.

The impact of Hurricane Ida on Pennsylvania exposed the infrastructure breakdown crisis in our great state. We were left with unnecessary death and destruction.

The cost of fixing our infrastructure in the Keystone State is daunting. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, some of the urgent problems include:

• 43% of roadways owned by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) have fair or poor roadway surface.

• Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation with 3,353 structurally deficient bridges needing monitoring and repair.

• In 2020, Philadelphia was the second-most congested city in America and the fifth-most congested in the world. Traffic congestion presently results in over $3.7 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

• Wastewater collection and treatment has an anticipated funding gap of $8.4 billion over the next 10 years for repairing or upgrading current systems.

• Broadband access: Over 800,000 Pennsylvania residents do not have access to broadband connectivity; in 34 of 67 counties only 35% of households actually have high-speed broadband.

• All cities must replace lead service lines, which will cost billions of dollars.

• Drinking water has a projected funding gap of $10.2 billion.

• High speed rail service on the Northeast corridor and the east-west Keystone Line is necessary, will require billions of dollars, but the return will be far greater.

Only the National Infrastructure Bank can address this staggering need. It will create tens of millions of new jobs, pay Davis-Bacon wages and mandate ‘buy American’ policies. The NIB will supercharge the U.S. economy, and reopen American industry. It will ensure robust minority hiring, promote disadvantaged business enterprises, and spawn a resurgence of small business.

It is better to think 50 years from now, and where we will need to be, as we repair and upgrade the current system. China spends 8% of its GDP on infrastructure; Europe 5% and we spend barely 2%. Is it any wonder that our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world?

Resolutions of endorsement for this National Infrastructure Bank have been initiated, and in many cases passed, across the nation including: the Pennsylvania General Assembly (both houses); City Councils in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Allentown; Allegheny and Northampton County Councils; Northern Tier Central Labor Council, and labor and business organizations.

People are fed up with ‘the same old same old’! We urge everyone to support HR 3339 and contact your congressional representative to enlist their sponsorship of this measure.

Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Wilkes-Barre, D-121st Dist.; Rep. John Galloway, Levittown, D-140th Dist.; Rep. Joanna McClinton, Philadelphia, D-191st Dist.; Rep. Ed Neilson, Philadelphia, D-174th Dist.; Sen. Lisa Boscola, Bethlehem, D-18th Dist.; Sen. Jay Costa, Pittsburgh, D-43rd Dist.; Sen. John Kane, Chester, D-9th Dist.; Sen. Christine Tartaglione, Philadelphia, D-2nd Dist.; Rep. Patrick Harkins, Erie, D-1st Dist.; Rep. Nick Pisciottano, Pittsburgh, D-38th Dist.; Rep. Kyle Mullins, Olyphant, D-112th Dist.; Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, Erie, D-3rd Dist.; Rep. MaryLouise Isaacson, Philadelphia, D-175th Dist.; Rep. Joe Ciresi, Limerick; D-146th Dist.; Rep. Mary Jo Daley, Conshohocken, D-148th Dist; Rep. Bob Merski, Erie, D-2nd Dist.; Liz Allen, Erie City Councilwoman; Cindy Purvis, vice-chair, Erie County Democratic Party; Jim Wertz, chairman, Erie County Democratic Party; Rep. Joseph Hohenstein, Philadelphia, D-177th Dist.; Rep. Darisha Parker, Philadelphia, D-198th Dist.; Rep. Steven Malagari, Landsdale, D-53rd Dist.; Rep. Dan Williams, Thorndale, D-74th Dist.; Rep. Benjamin Sanchez, Abingdon, D-153rd Dist.; Rep. Melissa Shusterman, Paoli, D-157th Dist.; Rep. James Roebuck (ret.), Philadelphia; Anita Prizio, Allegheny County Councilwoman, 3rd Dist.; Janet Diaz Temin, Lancaster City Councilwoman; Randy Beightol, president, Northern Tier Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, Williamsport; Matt Munsey, chairman, Northampton County Democratic Party; Laura Quick, Teamsters Local 775 and at-large member, Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, Lebanon; Lisa D’Italia, assistant director, 8th Dist., Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women, Allentown; Jack Hanna, former Treasurer and interim chairman, Pennsylvania Democratic Committee.

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