National Consumers League

The President’s Push For Rebuilding the Nation’s Infrastructure is Just The Right Medicine


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By Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director
I’m on vacation in FL for the week and reading the Palm Beach Post’s coverage of President Obama’s speech from the port of Miami calling for a surge in spending on infrastructure. I couldn’t agree more. The President is not saying that all such spending should be taxpayer funded. Instead, he’s asking for a public-private partnership, including improving Miami’s rail connection to Hialeah, and in turn, with rail lines all over the country. Right now, port traffic must go through downtown Miami, causing costly delays in transporting the cargo that can be avoided with a tunnel under Biscayne Bay. This kind of public works project will provide jobs, and likely good jobs that pay livable wages and benefits, and can help repair crumbling infrastructure affecting bridges, dams, tunnels, and sewer systems.  This is a win-win-win, because the taxpayers get better services and improved systems, workers get jobs, and the public-private partnership means that businesses are kicking in their share and have a stake in the outcome. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican, says the project will create at least 10,000 jobs in the port and is a strong supporter. I like how the President put it: “There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and economy. …My top priority …is to ignite the true engine of our economic growth—a rising, thriving middle class.” Mr. Obama also outlined a series of other projects which Congress needs to support, including a $10 billion “infrastructure bank.” This is exciting stuff, and just the medicine the nation needs as we climb out of the recession of the last few years. Now we need Congress to get behind the effort.