March 2013

President Barack Obama’s “Fix It First” program, announced at his State of the Union Address Feb. 12, would be an important step in bringing this country’s infrastructure back from the brink. After all, the first step in resolving a problem is admitting you have one.

Industry leaders have expressed their concerns over America’s aging infrastructure.

Volvo CE head of American sales Göran Lindgren said that significant political will is needed to repair the country’s roads and bridges. “It seems that political will is finally catching up with what the construction industry — and motorists — have known for years: that America’s highway system is seriously dilapidated and in dire need of repair and modernization,” he said. And outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently called America as “one big pothole.”

The president’s plan would be to spend $50 billion on existing problems with our roads and bridges and not to spend the money on new projects. But the key word here is “would.” There’re no assurances Congress will vote to spend anywhere near that amount, or if it will vote on this at all. Spending is a curse word these days. There appears to be no doubt that we need to cut spending; after all, more money is going out than coming in. But not all spending is bad.

I’ve said this before, but there are two ways to pass on debt to our children. We hear about one of these ways all the time: spending money we don’t have for entitlements and/or pork, and that’s fine. But the other way is to not spend money on something that when our children will be taxpayers, they will have no choice but to find the money. An aging, obsolete and dangerous infrastructure system is not something I want to pass onto my children.

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