For all the division and partisan bickering we’ve seen in Washington over the last several years, there’s still one issue Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on: the need to rebuild our nation’s
Even with all the toxic rhetoric and finger-pointing which seems to come with every discussion in Congress these days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a member of Congress who wouldn’t vote in favor of serious investments into our roads, bridges, and ports. I’d even go so far as to say a clean bill which focused entirely on rebuilding highways, restoring bridges, modernizing airports, and expanding seaports would pass with overwhelming bipartisan support – and fast – if it came up in Congress.
But therein lies the problem.
The “infrastructure” package being proposed is anything but “clean.” In fact, 93% of this $2.3 trillion proposal has nothing to do with roads or bridges. The proposal does include spending on items like the Green New Deal, childcare and harms right-to-work laws across 27 states.
You could fund the South Carolina Department of Transportation for nearly a thousand years with $2.3 trillion, yet this is what Nancy Pelosi has decided to pursue as an “infrastructure” deal in the House of Representatives.
As soon as it was announced there was a package focusing on rebuilding America’s infrastructure, I dove into Zooms, meetings, and calls with South Carolina constituents and stakeholders to identify their priorities. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have a voice on our roads, bridges, ports, and planes, and I wanted to ensure South Carolina got its fair share from whatever bill came out of Congress.
I received a long list of projects – all seeking to rebuild, expand, and/or modernize infrastructure vital to the Lowcountry, such as:
• Intersection improvements at highways 52 & 176
• Support for a growing Hilton Head Airport
• Help to ease traffic at highways 26 & 526
But they didn’t stop there. I asked stakeholders to send me everything they hoped to work on across the state. We reviewed the estimated costs to fix “Malfunction Junction” in Columbia, repair every structurally unsound bridge in South Carolina, fund litter removal for the entire state, and much more.
For $2.3 trillion we could pay for every single “dream” infrastructure project across South Carolina multiple times over.
This is the key part of the problem with the current “infrastructure” package. It wastes the vast majority of your money on things which have absolutely nothing to do with infrastructure or empowering our businesses, workers, and our economy to grow. It has almost nothing to do with making sure your commute is shorter, our seaports can get our products in and out faster, or ensure our airports are safer and more efficient.
While Nancy Pelosi is talking about spending trillions on a “Civilian Climate Corps,” we could solve practically every infrastructure problem in the entire state of South Carolina – and just about every other state – for a fraction of the price.