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Tuesday, Jan 12 2016

The GOP Field On Infrastructure Reinvestment: Nope

Jan 12, 2016

For a group of candidates so fixated on investment — enamored with the idea of cutting taxes on investment income and with boosting the after-tax income of their Wall Street investor donors — the GOP field has a jarring lack of interest in reinvesting in the country’s infrastructure.

Candidates have consistently voted against transportation funding and been unabashed obstructionists when it comes to stimulus projects such as high speed rail. They’ve remained complacent — even as the country’s infrastructure has continued to crumble. Given the Koch brothers’ opposition to infrastructure spending, the field’s  comes as little surprise — but that does nothing to diminish the potentially disastrous consequences of the candidates’ refusal to take action.
The devastating economic impact of the GOP’s infrastructure inaction transcends partisan talking points. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, infrastructure deficiencies will cost the economy over 400,000 jobs in 2040, should current trends continue. In 2020, infrastructure deterioration will cost the U.S. economy $210 billion — and by 2040, that will rise to $520 billion.

Here’s where the GOP field stands on not rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure

  • Ted Cruz is an opponent of investment in passenger rail transportation. He came out against a high speed rail project in Texas and voted to eliminate governmental support of Amtrak. In the past, Cruz has also voted against increasing funding for the Department Of Transportation. 
  • Marco Rubio has been a consistent opponent of infrastructure. Rubio has on multiple occasions voted against funding and to cut funding for federal highway and mass transit funding, and has similarly voted to block funding for port and water infrastructure projects. He has also voted against funding for the Department of Transportation, and similarly against the creation of a national infrastructure bank. Rubio also voted against the recent six-year surface transportation reauthorization. 
  • As governor of Florida, Jeb Bush earned “a reputation as a bulwark against large-scale infrastructure projects.” Enough said. 
  • As New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie has faced significant criticism and blame for New Jersey’s crumbling infrastructure. In 2015, over one-third Of New Jersey’s major roads were found to be “in poor condition,” with over a quarter of the state’s bridges “considered functionally obsolete.” “Christie clearly has no idea how to fund transportation,” read one 2015 editorial. Christie’s suspended over one hundred infrastructure projects as governor. Here’s another editorial excerpt: “[T]hanks to Gov. Chris Christie, we are likely to be stuck in neutral for years to come.” 
  • As strange as it is to say this, Donald Trump — who, remember, is at the end of the day a xenophobic demagogue running on anti-immigrant, discriminatory policies — very well may be the only GOP candidate with any sense when it comes to infrastructure. Or, as the Huffington Post put it, “at least one thing he said during [last month’s] Republican presidential debate was true.”:

    We have spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, … if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems, our airports and all of the other problems we have, we would have been a lot better off — I can tell you that right now,” Trump said.


Published: Jan 12, 2016

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