While it was buried in the middle of a long laundry list of proposals, President Obama’s State of the Union speech called for a renewed focus on rebuilding the country’s failing infrastructure. Obama announced a “Fix it First” program to rehab the nation’s 70,000 deteriorating bridges, and proposed a “Partnership to Rebuild America” to attract private capital to help pay for infrastructure rebuilding. Price tag $50 billion. Details and “pay for” proposals are still to come.
NPCA applauds the renewed call for infrastructure investment, not only because it is good for the precast concrete industry, but because it is good for the country. We will, of course, be watching for the details, and supporting common sense bipartisan measures that don’t burden precast manufacturers.
It’s easy to talk about fixing bridges. The real difficulty is in finding ways to pay for infrastructure rebuilding. It’s pretty hard to negotiate seriously when the two parties are barely talking. Right now, there appears to be little interest from either side of the aisle in working together to find solutions to these very complex problems. The gulf between the two parties is too wide. Before we can ever get serious about repairing infrastructure in this country, Congress needs to figure out how to fix its own infrastructure. The first broken bridge to rebuild is the one between the two parties. It’s been in disrepair for too long.
Major construction projects require a long-term serious effort from multiple layers of people working toward a common goal to get the job done. Perhaps our elected leaders could take a lesson from the construction industry and work together toward the common goal of rebuilding America.
President, National Precast Concrete Association