This is Infrastructure Week, and an all-out effort is underway to find the funding to replace crumbling roads and bridges and other segments of America’s backbone.
One thing almost everyone agrees with is the nation’s infrastructure needs a lot of work, said Ray LaHood, former U.S. Transportation secretary.
“We’ve been neglecting the infrastructure for a long time because, frankly, we haven’t had the money to do all the things we need to do,” he said. “Currently, there are about 60,000 structurally deficient bridges in America, the interstate system is crumbing. We have 50- and 60-year-old transit systems.”
LaHood and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell are co-chairs of Building America’s Future Educational Fund. The sticky part will be how to pay for it, said Rendell, who suggested increasing the federal gas tax.
“The 10-cent-a-gallon increase in the gas tax would cost the average driver $140, so they would pay $140 dollars in taxes, but get a several thousand-dollar tax cut,” he said.
The alternative, according to LaHood, could be major issues on roads and bridges nationwide.
“The entire system is broken, and we haven’t made the investments,” he said. “That’s led to 23 states in the last few years raising the gas tax, not waiting around for Washington, D.C., anymore.”
President Donald Trump promised an infrastructure plan during his campaign, but has not released one yet.