Back over the last forty years or so at least, experts and avid followers have discussed, warned, and tried to make headway on getting government to issue regular infrastructure repair, maintenance, and alternative solutions to our vital interests. Only over the last fifteen years have we finally been faced with a crisis large enough to get attention. Droughts in the Midwest, sinkholes, temperamental weather, flooding, bridges and roads in varying stages of disrepair, economic downturns, food production reductions, water shortages have all come together in a perfect storm.
Some blame it on the experiments going on with federal level weather manipulation, others on a variety of things like misuse of funds or world crisis efforts. The fact remains the sum total of the actions have affected and will continue to affect the health, welfare, basic living standards, and national security of our country because action was not taken consistently, wisely, and using a well-structured planned strategy.
Those that attempt to hint it was because there are term limits are full of hot air because they are more in tune with a socialist organizational format not a republic. We are witness to the corruption and poor judgement of those in the federal government political arena who have made a lucrative professional career out of public office. They haven’t gotten it right even with those years behind them. So having long terms in office is not the answer.
Then there is the ability of government to “study” things into exhaustion or at least until the general public gives up, grows bored, or a new crisis springs up. There is also the dubious ability of government to “cross-legalize” speak to the mind-numbing “nth” degree. The point here is infrastructure is not a one time fix but must be an act covering not just a few years but one designed to function independent of political maneuvering over long-term.
Why not have a Planned Infrastructure Act which covers all relevant defined infrastructure.
- Infrastructure includes all assets and conditions that affect transportation such as bridges and roads, water conditions and navigation, communication, air and land quality, and energy. As such they are vital to the overall health, defense, and stability of the country.
- The Federal government is responsible for maintaining all federal infrastructure where it crosses state lines. Each state involved in those infrastructures must provide ten percent of the cost of maintenance, repair, and reconstruction as needed to keep those structures in sound condition.
- The Federal government and state authorities shall meet every June 1 for a symposium of ideas, new research development, issues, and project ideas per agency so that idea exchanges and concerns can be considered and federal assistance projects discussed.
- All infrastructures for all states must submit a “health” checkup report every year to the federal government noting structures needing, receiving, or in progress for the next year before August 1 of each year. There shall be no allowance for delays and penalties of one percent will be assessed for requested amounts in the future budget.
- From that report, the federal government IG in the applicable department will assess and provide recommendations by November 1 each year. The state then has until January 1 of the next year to reply and must submit actual or planned resolutions by February 1 of the next year. Each checkup shall show recommendation corrective measures achieved. Any not achieved, shall require a one percent penalty in funds reduction allocated for the next year’s infrastructure federal grants.
- The federal government shall be presented with a working budget of projects to be completed during the state’s next twelve month period. The federal government shall provide thirty percent of that total budget to be earmarked exclusively for infrastructure in a special trust fund and used only for those listed projects. Funds shall be allocated to the projects with completion dates within twenty-four months of the original submittal. Any project dollars not utilized in that twenty-four month period shall be returned to the federal treasury and redistributed for infrastructure projects that will be achieved as required. It is the responsibility of the state to provide the justification and return of dollars. It is the responsibility of the federal government to maintain a trust fund for infrastructure use and provide annual reports to be posted for public view of balance sheets and financial statements on the trust fund account. Those funds placed in the account cannot be used except through congressional approval for any purpose other than infrastructure.
- No project shall interfere with the constitutional rights of individuals or based upon any prejudice of race, sex, financial advantage, or religion. All contractual agreements shall be of a voluntarily and fair market value.
Well, these are probably far off but at least you get the idea. The federal government according to the constitution has only specific and limited rights. Each state is given all rights not specifically mentioned. So the federal laws should be an umbrella outline not dictating specifics. In doing so, if the format is considered, then the wording should not be specific either so that “and’s, but’s, therefore’s” should not have to be corrected by a future law somewhere down the road. We should not be seeing bills which include a dozen “pork” or ram-through issues nor laws that are thousands of pages long.
I hate looking at some idiotic new law or bill that says – strike, add, change, “dribble this, dabble that” mumbo jumbo making it look like congress is actively busy but not so much. It takes hours to research back through such garbage to finally figure out what the reference is and how it affects the overall performance and structure of some purpose. In reality, the process to get the bill through congress and to the desk of the President is costing citizens and this country time which is better utilized, wastefully spent money for completion, understanding or misinterpretation issues, and a feeling of security or peace of mind.
We are in this aging infrastructure mess because of political maneuvering, manipulation of funds, and short-sightedness. Infrastructure should be a standard line item in every state’s budget–allocated into a trust fund specific to infrastructure and not able to be absconded with for anything else without debate in the state legislature. We have necessary maintenance schedules for vehicles and plant facilities so why do we not have necessary maintenance checklists for infrastructure? Or if we do, why are these structures not being taken care of? If deaths and injuries can be realistically attributed to failure of state to take care of infrastructure, then that state should be open to limited lawsuits for negligence and whatever else is applicable.
I am sick and tired of seeing inattention to infrastructure cause loss of lives and property when prudent and reasonable actions could prevent at least some of the issues. Nature and human greed have created obstacles and problems such as lakes, rivers, and structure failures. Our stewardship of vital assets and infrastructure reeks with political corrosiveness and corruption. When governors and federal government place higher regard for illegals than fixing aging infrastructure or supplying foreign aid to countries that do not want us there, then there is a serious breakdown in mental stability and function. Where is the media outcry on infrastructure instead of hashing over inconsequential nitpicking or giving voice to rhetoric from thugs?