December 2008

All across the country on Nov. 4, voters resoundingly approved infrastructure investment, which goes to show one thing: Despite the national media treating public works funding stories as though they’d bore us into turning off the television, the American public knows better. So much so that they approved more than $71 billion in funding, which is a lot more than the cost of Gov. Palin’s wardrobe that garnered quite a bit of press time.

Here is a sampling of ballot initiatives that passed:

• Arkansas — $300 million in bonds for development of water, waste disposal, drainage, irrigation, flood control, etc.

• California — $9.95 billion for bonds to partially fund a high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as money for school and hospital construction.

• Maine — $3.4 million in bonds for drinking water programs and construction of wastewater treatment facilities.

• Pennsylvania — $400 million for construction and improvement of drinking water and storm water projects.

• Rhode Island — Bonds to match DOT federal funds for highways and bridges.

Billions of dollars also were approved for infrastructure projects at the county and municipal level.

So amid unpopular (though some say necessary) bailouts of the banking industry and potential auto industry handouts, voters still told elected officials to find money for the nation’s infrastructure. It’s like no matter how bad things get in our own finances, finding money to keep our children healthy and safe overrides everything else.

And “structurally deficient” bridges, unsafe drinking water, over-crowded schools and millions of lost hours spent sitting in traffic on congested roads remind us of what we could be passing on to our children if we don’t do something now. We told the government to get working on it, even if the media wouldn’t tell them or us. P

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