Bridges to Somewhere


Remember that wasteful stimulus spending that the Obamaniacs pushed through Congress in early 2009? It was a potpourri of short-term measures aimed at generating more economic activity. The total spending authorization was $789 billion, with more than a third ($288 billion) allocated to various tax cuts or tax suspensions; $144 billion distributed to states for fiscal relief; and the rest spread through a mélange of federal programs, like extended unemployment benefits, energy research—and some infrastructure spending. The pure infrastructure authorization was $105 billion (.pdf), or about 13 percent of the total, mostly going to highways, bridges, mass transit, and airports.

And guess what. The quadrennial “report card” on the status of the nation’s public infrastructure issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) shows visible improvement in precisely those areas. This is the fifth such report, and the first one not to record a decline in...

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About the Author

Charles R. Morris, a Commonweal columnist, is the author of The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown (Public Affairs), among other books, and is a fellow at the Century Foundation.