Material Handling & Logistics (MH&L) reported yesterday that the newly signed Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is a flawed bill. I agree. I previously reported that there is no such thing as a perfect bill.
Michael Collins, president of MPC Consulting, is quoted extensively and says that the bill…
…fails to address a chronic shortfall in financing for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which pays for such projects, and has been the subject of a fierce long-running disagreement over federal tax policy. In fact, how to pay for this program remains vague and is still being debated.
[Additionally, the] bill appropriated no money for water and sewer problems or for the electrical grid. Water contamination causes 5,500 citizens to get sick every year, and there are 240,000 water main breaks every year. Meanwhile, the electrical demand has exceeded the building of transmission lines by 25% per year.
Like it or not we are in the middle of an infrastructure collapse and we are going to have to pay for it by either raising taxes or deficit spending –- or we will pay for it through emergency funding, which is also deficit spending, that is estimated to be $189 billion per year.
To make real progress and create jobs we need a minimum of $415 billion per year.
Mr. Collins is right; we need to know how this bill will be funded. Are we just spending more and more without any measure of fiscal responsibility? Can you continuously add items to your family budget without removing items to balance it or without earning more money? Then why do we let our government?
But his comments about water, sewer, and electrical infrastructure ring hollow to me. It’s not that we don’t need to improve our infrastructure, but I would question why would should put them in a transportation bill. Those items should be debated upon and funded by their own bills. And aren’t most of those water and sewer pipe issues he mentions covered by the local municipalities?
Even his claim about needing $415 billion per year. How does he justify that number? Why is it $415 billion and not $375 billion or $450 billion? And who says his evaluation is the one that is right? Please do not misunderstand me. I do not know Mr. Collins. He may be the foremost expert on the subject and his opinions may provide the absolute best solutions. I just question some of his reasoning. And I’d like to know how he came to his conclusions.
Thanks for reading.