Archive for November 8th, 2021

Before you get too excited about the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill …

November 8, 2021

Remember “shovel ready”, “cash for clunkers”. Solyndra and the SoCal-to-Vegas bullet train?
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According to a recent USA Today poll:

The infrastructure bill, which passed Friday with some bipartisan support, is backed by 2-1 (61%-32%) among those surveyed.

Almost everybody agrees that major parts of our infrastructure — roads, bridges, electrical grid, broadband, drinking water — need to be upgraded.

Other parts of the infrastructure have strong urban, coastal and climate control support — e.g.  inter-city rail (especially DC to Boston), metro area public transportation, EV subsidies and charging stations.

Below is list of infrastructure programs included in the bill

For the sake of argument, let’s assume all of the above are worthwhile endeavors.

Here are some things to think about…

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How much on “infrastructure”?

> For openers, according to a Forbes recap, less than half of the $1.2 trillion — $550 billion — is going into hard infrastructure …  the rest goes to the usual grab bag of government giveaways, pork  and crony paybacks.

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Deliverables, schedule and budget?

> Of course, this program will end up  taking forever (thanks to gov’t red tape and climate control reviews) and go way over budget.

There will be union and diversity requirements on all contractors …, and, a shortage of certifiably vaccinated labor will push wages through the roof.

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Government track record?

> The Federal government’s most recent track record on these omnibus programs is less than stellar.  Just flashback to the Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The ARRA gave us “shovel ready”, “cash for clunkers”. Solyndra and the SoCal-to-Vegas bullet train.

Off the top of your head, can you name any significant infrastructure improvement that came out of that program?

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Who’s in charge?

> Who — from among the gang that can’t shoot straight — is going to manage this trillion dollar project? Biden (who Obama tasked to oversee the ARRA)? Harris (who has done such a great job as Border Czar)? Buttiigieg (when he gets back from his paternity leave)? Granholm (who laughs off our surging gas prices)?

Seriously, who’s going to run this massive project?

The only “for sure”: Nobody will be held accountable.

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What are the odds?

By the law of averages, something good may come from this massive program, but I’m bracing for disappointment … even faster inflation with few concrete infrastructure successes to point to.

In a few years (or months), we’ll be hearing: “Gotta upgrade our infrastructure”.

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In the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill:

Roads and bridges: Headlining the 2,702-page bill‘s spending, roughly $110 billion of new funds would go toward improving the nation’s roads and bridges, and investments in other major transportation programs.

Public transit: The package also includes the largest-ever federal investment in public transit, allotting $39 billion to modernize systems, improve access for the elderly and people with disabilities, and repair more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars and thousands of miles of train tracks.

Amtrak: The legislation marks the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago, with $66 billion earmarked for high-speed rail, safety improvements, Amtrak grants and to modernize the rail route connecting Washington, D.C., to Boston.

Broadband internet: Tacking on to billions authorized by last year’s American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure bill includes $65 billion to bolster the country’s broadband infrastructure and help ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, with one in four households expected to be eligible for a $30-per-month subsidy to pay for internet.

Electric grid: Though many clean-energy measures were cut from the bill to satisfy spending-weary lawmakers, a $65 billion investment will help upgrade the nation’s electricity grid, with thousands of miles of new transmission lines and funds for environmentally friendly smart-grid technology.

Electric cars, buses and ferries: In addition to $7.5 billion for the nation’s first network of electric-vehicle chargers along highway corridors, lawmakers have shored up $5 billion for zero-emission buses (including thousands of electric school buses) and $2.5 billion for ferries.

Clean drinking water: Following high-profile water-supply crises plaguing cities like Flint, Michigan, the legislation includes a provision for $55 billion to replace all the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, representing the largest investment in clean drinking water ever.

Great rivers and lakes: Among the bill’s $48 billion for water infrastructure improvements, about $1 billion is slated to go toward the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a sweeping clean-up measure targeting toxic hot spots—or areas of heavy industrial pollution—around the Great Lakes region.

Airports: More than $25 billion has been allocated to help modernize America’s airports—funds the Airports Council International says will help tackle more than $115 billion worth of project backlogs.

Road safety: The deal invests $11 billion in transportation safety programs, including a new program to help states and localities reduce crashes and fatalities in their communities, particularly among cyclists and pedestrians.

Sources: Forbes, Zero Hedge


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