Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Next WPA?

Wired magazine points out benefits of new WPA!

Note to Next President: Modern-Day WPA Will Save the Economy

By Dave Demerjian

...The next president must commit to fixing our infrastructure. Such an investment will create jobs, strengthen our economy and make America more competitive...

Of the two candidates, Obama's said the most about the issue, but even he isn't saying much. At the bottom of the sixth page of his economic policy paper (.pdf), Obama calls for the creation of a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank. It would "expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments." On the face of it, that means a new chunk of money would be allocated for infrastructure projects as opposed to simply shifting cash from other projects. Obama wants to deposit $60 billion into the bank over five years. That's far short of the $225 billion a bipartisan transportation policy commission recommends spending each year for the next 50 years, but it's a start. If Obama's numbers are to be trusted, the bank would create two million jobs and generate $35 billion in economic activity each year.

As for McCain, he hasn't said much of anything. If anyone's seen a specific infrastructure platform from him, we'd like to see it. That said, his record so far isn't stellar. Among other things, he's called for a national gas tax holiday, which would save people pennies at the pump but take money away from the already strained Highway Trust Fund, which finances construction projects. Three years ago, McCain voted against the Transportation Equity Act, which provided more than $286 billion for transportation infrastructure.

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