Investing in infrastructure is one of the critical problems that America faces. Infrastructure improvements are necessary to keep up with a modern global economy, to create jobs and to make sure that America is ready to face unknown challenges the future brings. A new report from Damon Silvers, director of policy and special counsel for the AFL-CIO, and the Roosevelt Institute makes the case that such investment is vital for our future and lays out the types of investments that will do the most to help us move forward.
Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong explains:
America needs genuine infrastructure investment now more than ever—and that means more than just filling potholes. It means building the foundation for 21st century commerce, which is a long-term strategic necessity. It includes public investments in high-speed rail, universal broadband and a carbon-reducing power grid, all of which will drive growth and help usher in shared prosperity for millions of Americans.
The 2016 election results show that this is the will of the American people: According to a recent poll by the Roosevelt Institute and Democracy Corps, 70 percent of voters support commitments to transformational infrastructure investments that will grow our economy, create jobs and transform our nation to meet the demands of the 21st century. However, we must be wary. Infrastructure’s ability to bring true growth and opportunity depends on how we finance it.
In the report, Silvers et al. argue that any infrastructure proposals, like the one President-elect Donald Trump is considering, must meet the following criteria:
- Will they be inclusive—reaching white people and people of color, rural and urban communities—and targeted to create jobs where they are most needed and where growth can be most transformative?
- Will they include investments such as broadband and transportation, which will increase labor market participation over the long term?
- Will they be held to high labor and environmental standards?
- Will project decisions be made locally and by actors serving the public interest, rather than by those who will benefit financially?
- Will they make good use of relatively inexpensive public funds and avoid the unnecessary costs of private financing?
Read the full report.