According to the proposal, an economic boost to U.S. infrastructure is urgent to tackle severe issues from increasing safety measures to reducing the environmental footprint of the country's facilities.
The endeavor will focus on many existing infrastructure demands such as upgrading bridges, roadways, public transportation, airports and water facilities. In particular, about $329 billion will be dedicated to ground transportation and 47,000 defective bridges will be repaired. “Our country has changed dramatically since the 1950s, yet people and goods are now literally stuck trying to move on transportation networks first developed nearly 70 years ago,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (OR-04), stated. “It's falling apart. It needs to be rebuilt. We have a tremendous opportunity here,” DeFazio added.
Congressman DeFazio also emphasized the urgent need to use new technology and environmentally friendly approaches in the development of future infrastructure or "else we will keep throwing money at an antiquated system that is only holding us and our economy back.”
According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an alliance of companies and agents that aims at making U.S. roadways safer, the initiative is beneficial, but additional safety parameters should be improved. Those include: implementing smart technology applied in vehicles with the aim to reduce accidents, improving vehicles' front light standards, protecting pedestrians and bikers and improving consumer service. More than 36,500 people have been reported dead by car accidents in 2018, an average of 100 deaths per day. “This unacceptable toll can and must be reduced by enacting commonsense countermeasures contained in legislation introduced in this Congress, among other safety advances,” Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated.
The House of Democrats did not clarify how those funds would be raised and stated that this issue will be discussed when an agreement with the White House is reached. “We are hoping that we will have the support of the Republicans and the president,” Nancy Pelosi, House of Democrats speaker, stated.
In any case, experts state that securing the necessary funds is going to be a difficult task. DeFazio suggests that the U.S. Treasury could borrow some money at low interest and since it is about a facility with a life expectancy of about 100 years, it should not be accounted for a single-year expenditure. “We need to look at this like a capital investment,” DeFazio commented.