I have taken a hard look at the proposal by President Biden to revitalize our national infrastructure. I am ready, willing and able to support the proposal. I just have a few questions.
You start with $115 billion for roads, highways, and bridges. Please tell us the specific projects you are spending that money on and how you came to that figure. With 435 members of Congress plus the Transportation Department, we are certain you collected a list of targeted projects. We all know there are some bridges that need to be replaced. Please produce a list of where that money is being spent. That should be easy.
Then there is the $20 billion for highway safety. What does that mean and how is that being spent? We would like to know.
There is $85 billion for public transportation. Isn’t that the annual deficit of the New York and Washington subway systems? Have you read Joel Kotkin’s repeated analyses that the more we build mass transit the fewer Americans want to take it? Where exactly are we spending $85 billion? We are confident you have a complete list of where that money is going; would you please share that with us?
Another $80 billion for Amtrak and other rail services. Once again that sounds a lot like the annual deficits. Can you give us just a hint where that $80 billion is going? Seems like a lot of money.
These two are kind of special — $20 billion for transportation projects in historically neglected neighborhoods and $50 billion for infrastructure resilience. We are a little skeptical about these two and that $70 billion is real money. To quote the esteemed Sen. Everett Dirksen: “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you are talking real money.” These categories seem a little loosey, goosey. Can we get additional details?
Here is one that is interesting — $174 billion for electric cars. Who receives those cars? Is that to replace government-owned vehicles? Are we replacing government vehicles before their useful lives are over? That is about 3.5 million vehicles so who is getting all these new vehicles? Are you going to create a lot of landfills with the disposed cars?
There is $111 billion for water projects. Is any of that money for desalination plants in California to end the constant cycle of droughts? What about the $45 billion to fully eliminate lead pipes? Certainly, a good idea, but do you have a list of projects? Are there enough plumbers to do the projects and are you giving grants to personal residences? Sounds like we could have some shenanigans here.
Here is an intriguing category: $100 billion for broadband. I know Mr. President you do not get a lot of time to watch TV commercials, but it seems private companies are spending billions to do that across the country and are competing with 5G networks. Why must the taxpayers pay an additional $100 billion? Where exactly is that money going?
Now we are getting into some serious numbers. $213 billion for creating and retrofitting two million housing units. Is one of those mine? Just asking as a favor. The Beautiful Wife is always nagging me about projects around the house. The government building its own housing has an awfully bad track record just to give you a heads up. We have lots of companies who are really good at it and are adding new housing every year in large numbers. You might want to rethink this one.
Here is a real whopper — $400 billion for home and community care for the elderly and disabled. This one is extremely cosmic. There are not enough trained personnel currently to staff the private sector facilities. When we were at full employment in 2019, there was no personnel available. O.K., I get it — the coal miners. They will be retrained to care for the elderly. The only problem is these jobs are at half the pay. At any rate, could you be a little more specific because $400 billion is a chunk of change?
$300 billion for American manufacturing and small business. Let us simplify this. Let us not raise the taxes on all these businesses and just leave them alone and get out of their way. Seems like the government might be picking winners and losers. America is good at capital formation for business ideas. Probably a good idea you stay away from this one.
There is a lot more here like giving schools another $100 billion when we just gave them $150 billion. Now the public-school teachers are demanding daycare before showing up.
The bottom line is this is a lot of dough and is very sketchy. We need more details, and can you hold off on this until you spend the $1.9 billion from the last bill and the $900 billion from the bill in December? With employment bouncing back and all the business sentiment reports at record highs, we might not need this one. Thank you for this President Biden, but please get back to us with your answers.