Obama’s Economic Stimulus – How Should it Be Spent?
January 6, 2009
Should Obama offer an economic stimulus to the country by investing in infrastructure? Lately its sounding as though stimulus checks are out and tax breaks and infrastructure spending are in.
So how should the billions of dollars for public works be spent? I ran across some interesting commentary recently on this topic from a wide range of people including industry CEO’s, secretary’s of transportation, and the Environmental Defense fund. Here are some of the things they had to say:
Janet F. Kavinoky, Director of Transportation Infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
There are thousands of “ready to go” transit, highway, aviation, water, and other infrastructure projects worth tens of billions of dollars awaiting funding. Many of these projects could be initiated in the short run to preserve and create jobs and generate economic activity. So the U.S. Chamber believes that investment in ready-to-go projects should be a key component of any stimulus package. There is no question that infrastructure investment supports jobs. It directly puts people to work in construction. At a time when unemployment in construction is higher than in any other sector of the economy – at 10.8 percent up from 6.1 percent a year ago – stimulus is critical. Infrastructure investment also supports jobs in manufacturing construction equipment, quarrying materials, design, engineering, planning and finance. The best news is that when projects are done, infrastructure draws businesses to the location, inducing even more jobs.
Pete K. Rahn, Director, Missouri Department of Transportation
Congress and the Obama administration should commit at least $50 billion of a stimulus package to highway and bridge improvements – $25 billion a year for two years. The funds should be distributed by the existing SAFETEA-LU formula, because any attempt to select projects from Washington, D.C., would surely get bogged down in bureaucratic processes that would delay putting these funds to work.
You can check out some of the other 30 responses here.
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