On January 5, President Trump expressed disagreement with Republican leaders in Washington over their infrastructure plan – which would promote private and public partnerships in order to move forward. While this setback is a concern regarding the effectiveness of Trump’s 2018 plan to improve our nation’s infrastructure by rebuilding dilapidated structures, bridges, and roadways, his willingness to make these improvements is essential.
As college students and millennials, we have been forced to deal with the poor decisions of other generations. One unwise decision was to continue to put off vital improvements towards our nation’s infrastructure. This has only made the issue worse – as people continue to drive on our major highways, the roadways are deteriorating at a rapid rate. The US Department of Transportation estimates it will take $836 billion to update our highways, bridges, and interstate system alone.
In the United States, our entire livelihood depends on our roadways – highways, bridges, railways and more are the center of economic activity, and the literal road to socialization. The daily commute may involve one of several dilapidated interstates, from I-75 to I-64. Yet, they seem to be given the lowest priority on every budget, due to deficit concerns and other matters. A February 2017 report from The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) stated that 41% of US bridges are more than 40 years old, reflecting the priorities of Congress. This leads to the possibility of increased bridge collapses, car accidents due to poor road conditions, and other avoidable issues.
What is Donald Trump doing differently? The President declared during the election that he would focus on improving infrastructure, and has continued to say that will be the top priority in 2018. Although college students and other Americans have already suffered from policy decisions from this Congress and administration – the tax bill for one – this is one area that we can be happy about.
Yet, this new focus on infrastructure by Trump is still not enough. Although the details are murky, the President has consistently claimed that he would put together a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement plan in 2018. Unfortunately, it seems to be too little too late. The price for improvements climbs with every year without said improvements, but Congress and the Trump administration are only willing to pay enough to take care of a fraction of the problem.
While we cannot turn back time, we can have sustained hopes for the future. In a time where hope has been minimal, as the President and Congress have few wins and low approval ratings, one win that all Americans would benefit from may be enough to boost national morale. If Congress and the President can come to a consensus, this may be the start of a better image in the eyes of the American public – despite past shortcomings. The tax plan is already adding to the deficit – why not make a worthwhile improvement and abandon “economic pragmatism” while the moment is here?
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