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January 28th, 2009
05:45 PM ET

America’s infrastructure crisis

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Stephen Flynn on AC360° at 10pm ET.

The civil engineers said the nation's D- roads cost motorists $67 billion a year in repairs and operating costs.

The civil engineers said the nation's D- roads cost motorists $67 billion a year in repairs and operating costs.

Stephen Flynn
National security expert

America’s infrastructure is in the political spotlight as an increasingly contentious piece of President Barack Obama’s $835 billion economic stimulus package. Republicans like Rep. Harold Roger, R-KY characterize the package as “a rampant spending spree.” The White House maintains that it is the jumpstart the nation’s moribund economy needs to move us out of a severe recession. Missing from this debate is any real acknowledgment that the critical foundations that underpin our modern society are literally crumbling around us, imperiling our safety and security, quality of life, and economic competitiveness.

How bad off is America’s inventory of infrastructure? On January 27, 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineersissued their quadrennial report card on 15 sectors. The grades are not the kind you would have wanted to bring home to your parents: four C’s and eleven D’s. Bottoming out the evaluation are drinking waters systems, levees, wasterwater systems, inland waterway locks, and roads which all were assigned a D- grade. Think about this: water is the basic element of life. To get it to most of our homes and offices whenever we turn on the faucet or flush the toilet requires a vast network of underground pipes that are in such bad repair, we are losing an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water each and every day.

There are 85,000 dams in the U.S., with an average age of 51-years-old. Inspectors have found that 4,000 of them are deficient, 1,819 of which are rated as high hazard because when they fail, people downstream could find themselves with a wall of water suddenly in their living rooms or their homes carried off their foundations. Remember those levees that failed during Hurricane Katrina? Across the United States there are an estimated 100,000 miles of levees that are locally owned and sporadically maintained. The mileage is an estimate because the federal government has never inventoried these levees and no one knows their condition. What we do know is that most are a half-century old and have been neglected, generating a tab of more than $100 billion to repair them.

The 2009 ASCE report reads like a survey that might have been conducted on the eve of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Our airports, rail, and roads have gone from very bad to worse in the past four years. The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System is more than 50 years old and has not been aging gracefully as virtually every American commuter knows. Last year U.S. drivers spent an estimated 4.2 billion hours stuck in traffic. The national power grid has seen 25 percent more demand since 1990, with little meaningful upgrade in its overall capacity. Utility executives literally hold their breath whenever demand spikes during hot July or August days. Without a projected electric utility investment of $1.5 trillion by 2030, brownouts and even blackouts will be routine occurrences.

Our young people have no memory of a time when great public works were a source of national pride. It was our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents who celebrated the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Holland Tunnel, and the Hoover Dam. We once had a transportation system that was the envy of the world. Now we are better known for our congested highways, second-rate ports, third-rate passenger trains and a primitive air traffic control system. Our global image is increasingly one of a superpower that is rotting from within: the I35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007, a drowned New Orleans in 2005, and a blacked-out Northeast in 2003.

Americans should be deeply embarrassed and outraged. Like spoiled and lazy kids, we have failed to maintain the fine mansion we have inherited. Instead we have been squandering the infrastructure legacy built with the treasure, tenacity, and inventiveness of our forebears. For nearly 30 years we have been kidding ourselves into believing that we can continue to be safe and prosperous nation by taking for granted and recklessly neglecting the very critical foundations that has made our society the most advanced in the world.

Washington needs to come clean with the American people. Democrats need to stop talking about reinvesting in our infrastructure as a short-term miracle cure for boosting our sluggish economy and Republicans need to wean themselves off of labeling all public investment as a robbing taxpayers of their hard earned dollars. Together our elected officials need to roll-up their sleeves to do the hard work of providing the leadership, setting priorities, mustering the resources to address the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. This is a task that cannot be completed overnight, but requires a decade-long commitment.

Beyond the “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects in the current economic stimulus package, President Obama needs to establish a bipartisan commission, supported by the National Academies of Science, and organizations like the American Society of Engineers to review the infrastructure needs identified by governors and mayors and create a national must-do list based on risk and criticality. While not very sexy, top priority needs to be provided to funding routine maintenance and repairs where each dollar saves up to $16 on the cost of major reconstruction or rehabilitation. It's like paying for regular oil changes so you don’t have to replace the car engine.

In the end, mustering the resources to pay for the upkeep of critical infrastructure is a sound short- and long-term investment. It provides well-paying jobs for working Americans while bolstering our economic competitiveness and improving our quality of life. It makes our nation more secure by removing the kinds of vulnerabilities that terrorists or future adversaries may be tempted to target or exploit. Finally, we have an obligation to our children to pass along an infrastructure legacy that is greener, and more sustainable than one we have inherited.

Editor's Note: Stephen Flynn is the Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation (Random House, 2007).

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Deborah Maxemow

    We put aside this issue several administrations ago to increase our military. This isn't a new problem and the package currently presented doesn't even begin to cover it, however, we have to start somewhere. What concerns me is that there is no process in place on a national level to identify which infrastructure systems should receive first priority. If handled at the state level will special interest groups influence those priorities? I'm afraid that a great deal will need to be spent during the project identification and planning process, leaving little for the actual construction costs. To make it even more complicated is the need to incorporate increased security, environmental issues, and alternative fuel technology within these infrastructure projects.

    January 29, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  2. Madya Parker

    When we are in a current health crisis …..with cancer an epidemic in the Northwest, can we afford to have polio and meningitis come back full force?

    The Washington State Legislature has a bill HB 1661 to restrict the inspection of Septic Tanks and Sewer Systems. They apparently, do not care that sewage flows in our rivers and streams.

    We don’t even need to have terrorist poison and destroy our water systems – we have our city, county, and state officials doing this for us.

    January 29, 2009 at 3:41 am |
  3. Rita Pollock

    I don't think scrapping the money for condoms is a good idea. The use of condoms prevents the spread of veneral diseases and aids. It prevents many pregnancies which means less money spent on health care and providing services for unwed mothers or abandoned children. Jobs are also provided.

    January 29, 2009 at 2:51 am |
  4. Lyle

    Why not spend $2 trillion on America instead of the banks!!?? Here's a radical idea: Let's not only end our addiction to oil, let's end out addition to debt, ie, the banks. Let's put money in the pockets of the real people, and let the damned banks fail (and all the debt they hold along with them). Most people owe more than they have, so if we hit the big reset button, we'd all be better off, and so would our country.

    January 29, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  5. Rita Pollock

    The news today is criticizing money spent on the 2010 census. The census provides a multitude of very valuable information to businesses and the public. Good government uses the information to plan projects across the country and much much more. If you check out the Census I'm sure you will find much more of how they contribute to society. They enhance efficiency because it tracks trends to do business planning.

    Also criticism of spending money on the National Arts is not looking at what the arts community does for the country. All your television programmes, theatre, advertising, movies, dance, festival entertainment and on an on give training to people all across the country which provides countless jobs. Again, check out the National Arts and other programs to see what art money actually contributes to the economy and jobs. Humungous!

    January 29, 2009 at 2:42 am |
  6. Scott from California

    Every little bit of infrastructure funding helps today as one can see based on the latest report from the ASCE. The majority of this country's roads and bridges are maintained by Counties and Cities – and these funds need to make it to these agencies without the typical strings attached to Federal and State dollars. Unfortunately, in California the Governor has proposed the deferral of State Gas Taxes from January to July to assist with the financial crisis this State is experiencing. Local agencies rely on these funds to maintain their infrastructure everyday. I guess this all can be summed up by saying the Feds give and the State takes it away....

    January 29, 2009 at 2:02 am |
  7. Madya Parker

    The Washington State Legislature has a bill HB 1661 to restrict the inspection of Septic Tanks and Sewer Systems. They apparently, do not care that sewage flows in our rivers and streams.
    When we are in a current health crisis .....with cancer an epidemic in the Northwest, can we afford to have polio and meningitis come back full force?

    We don't even need to have terrorist poison and destroy our water systems – we have our city, county, and state officials doing this for us.

    January 29, 2009 at 1:53 am |
  8. KatchProFILMS

    Poor President Obama - what a mess! (There is SO much.)

    January 29, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  9. J.V.Hodgson

    The amount for Infrastructure is too small, on the one hand but so clearly open to Pork and earmarking. On the other hand also it is said it yields $1.50+ to GDP for each $1 spent.
    The biggest difficulty is where to spend it and water should be a priority and roads/ bridges which it is said cost motorists $60bn plus per annum The national Engineers have surveys and could be tasked with prioritising the projects to spend on. Review toll fees ad legislate an amount of the toll that must go into a maintenace reserve and be spent annually, that way you do not have to keep bailing the road structure out.
    If the electricity grid modernisation is not a separate fund it should be, if not allocate more, and again get independent advice on where to spend for maximum efficiency and return on Investment. Loan the money to Utilities companies and oversight thru a review of the investment proposals prior to handing out the funds via an existing US government agency.
    My point is get the private sector involved in identifying projects and then oversight/ control at a reasonable level, before doling out the funds politicians deciding is nonsense.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    January 29, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  10. Kim

    I think the majority of the 825 billion package should be spent on our infrastructure. This would kill 2 birds with one stone, jobs and fixing our infrastructure.

    January 28, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  11. Renee

    When President Obama said he wanted the largest part of the bill to be on infrastructure...people cried "Sexist" because these types of mortar and brick jobs mainly support men. When Pelosi added contraceptive money to the bill to keep nurses, educators, secretaries, pharm techs employed....people cried "Pork." MAN!!!! Can't please anyone these days!!!

    January 28, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  12. Larry from Richmond

    The President states that this plan is needed to help rebuild the nation's roads and bridges. But less than 4% of the money is designated this work. This amount is only a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed. Where's the Beef?

    Larry

    January 28, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  13. jarrod

    the point that daniel was trying make and I agree with that in the long run $1.00 is worth more than giving millions to corporations that spend money unwisely we have seen it, we have been angered by it, and were living through it, the question is are you willing to give your tax dollars to banks and corporations that want to buy jets, redecorate offices, continue to drive, live, eat in fancy restarants with bailout money while the rest of america are struggling to keep their homes so arachnae your monetary statistics are as worthless as the bailout has been to america.

    January 28, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  14. Eugenia - San Francisco

    I hope this doesn't sound terrible but I love this article. I have heard of Engineers in my area that refuse to go over the Richmond or Bay Bridges, if that is not a wake up call I don't know what is. The History Channel has showed Engineers stating that California's levees are the next Katrina. Fernley, Nevada's levee systems has failed twice in 14 years completely wiping out people's homes. My Uncle retired from Cal-Trans and every project that man worked on there was a pride and still remains.

    January 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  15. EB

    Yes, the avarice in our infrastructure is a travesty of american government (and to some extent, us) for at least 40 years now. No planning, or looks, at the future of whatever they had built or would build. From the lack of oversight to the lack of vision, we now have what remains, it needs help, and many systems need to be re-built by this generation of american workers. Anything is better than nothing right now, even if the impact turns out to be less than planned.

    I agree there is a lot of unnecessary projects, as reasonable time wasn't really alloted for the analysis. I really hope that the senate will stitch together something that has a better cost/benefit ratio, and that Pres. Obama follows-thru in his statement to use "independent experts" to dig futher into the details and adjust the plan accordingly.

    There has to be countless areas for project integration and costing efficiences in a package this size...

    January 28, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  16. Timothy Gibson

    Our infrastructure has long been ignored as has our bleeding of companies looking to foreign nations to build their own personal wealth. While it may be valid that this is an issue we must address, as well, it must be addressed that the work in all forms goes to citizens of this country who are legal to work here, not on work visa's, but American nationals. While work in any form at this point would boost an individuals ability to survive, spending of any money that goes to foreign nations does not boost our economy and that is a part of our infrastructure that seems to be ignored. Would a stimilus package spent at Wal-Mart boost any economy other than that of China. It is time to not only address the infrastructure, but to go back to the days of buy American, build American, be American and make no excuses for it.

    January 28, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  17. Flo, Denver

    This may not sound as if it is related to this country's infrastructure but it is.

    In our parents and grandparents generation we produced our own steel, our own bricks, our own cement and so on. Most of all, we produced some of the best workers in the world. Workers who "went fishing" to help fellow workers keep a job or get better benefits, knowing it could be us needing the "fishing day" next. These days we just cross picket lines to get a job and to heck with our neighbor. When our neighbor finally gets another job they carry that "to heck with you" attitude with them. Down the road that also produces a "so what" attitude toward our finished products. So until we take some lessons from our parents and grandparents again we will continue on a downward slide, and it will get a whole lot worse before it gets any better.

    This country needs to return to the days when we realized we were all in this together. Until we do that we won't really improve our infrastructure or anything else for that matter. Don't blame Congress, and don't even blame the President. We can only blame ourselves and the type of representatives we are producing with our own actions and our own attitudes.

    January 28, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  18. Arachnae

    Daniel says: "Time to fix the problem not the blame. The US census Bureau estimates the population of the US at 305 million people. That is Adults, children, politicians, CEO’s , everyone in the US.

    Simple solution to the financial crisis. Spend 305 million. NOT 300 Billion right now. Give every single US citizen (who filed income taxes) 1 million dollars tax free."

    Math skills please. If you have 305 million people and want to spend 305 million dollars, each person gets ONE dollar. ONE, not a million. If you give 305 million people a million each, you will have to spend 3 QUADRILLION dollars; that's three thousand trillion.

    For the record, the US economy is currently about 13-14 trillion a year.

    The current stimulus package being proposed works out to about $3000 per person in the US – most people carry more debt than that on their credit cards.

    January 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  19. Gary Woehler

    Why not spend the billions on purchasing USA made products from small businesses that had to lay off workers? Ship them to China Etc., sell them for half price, take that money and buy more USA goods!!
    The infusion of money will have an immediate effect!
    Days, not months!
    Don't worry about "Dumping", China never did!

    January 28, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  20. jarrod

    i like daniel mcdowell idea on giving 1 million, but i would only extend that to anyone over eighteen that filed an income tax return and i would also give only 500,000 to each individual so if you married you would get the 1 million and would not discriminate against gays,single parents with liv- in boyfriend, girlfriend then people would then be able to pay off their homes instead giving banks all this money to pick and chose who gets to keep their homes therfore they will get their money back and people will not be living tents underbridges, shelters and so on. People are not going stop borrowing money we are in a got to have society and the that handle thier 500,000 properly would be the heroes of this great country that is failing at an enormous rate.

    January 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  21. Stacy from Fairfax, VA

    I wonder how many roads, bridges, dams, railways, airports and schools we could have improved with the hundreds of billions we wasted on the Iraq War. I guess we will never know.

    January 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  22. atsegga

    The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

    $30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
    $550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

    January 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  23. jarrod

    this may be a little off base to fixing the infrastructure problems but the core is this even new structures that aren't 20,30,or even 50 years old are failing and i think it all leads back to greed an the facts are every constuction that takes the government contract to build or repair bridges, buildings, roads ect. are finding the cheapest way to do this some of it being cheap immigrant labor to boost their bottom line profits, take the so called strict fine and penalties they get compared to the millions in profits they recieve these fines are minimal compared to profits. Anybody who has worked in the construction field whether residential, commercial, or industrial have seen this and not much is being done there are a vast number of certain smiley faced superstores being built by this means of cheap labor and they continue to pay the fines and collect thier millions in profit and move on to the next one so once these company's began to pick-up these infrastructure contracts they need strict oversite on who does the work and where the materials come from.... Taxpayer's cannot oversee this so yes government oversight is needed and no nobody really wants more government involvement but what have we done to prove other wise.

    By the way whaat ever happen to immigration talk

    January 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  24. Mike B.

    My discrepency is that I don't doubt that our nations roads are in crisis and in need of repair, but I don't see why we have to spend $30-$40 billion to fix it at this moment with this stimulus plan and how doing so will fix our economic problems in this department. We are going to be giving the money to state and federal employees, first of all, to fix the highways, these are the workers who are the least likely to be laid off from the economic crisis. I am sure there are solid answers out there, I just can't seem to find a reliable source with facts that I can wrap my head around.

    January 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  25. Lisa

    What a concept! - putting America's needs first for a change. How else can we show others what the standards should be when our own backyard is in shambles.

    January 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  26. Daniel McDowell

    Time to fix the problem not the blame. The US census Bureau estimates the population of the US at 305 million people. That is Adults, children, politicians, CEO's , everyone in the US.

    Simple solution to the financial crisis. Spend 305 million. NOT 300 Billion right now. Give every single US citizen (who filed income taxes) 1 million dollars tax free. Let the American people pay off their debt and stimulate this economy. We can oh yes we can.

    Not being a financial genius like your guests I would really like to here why that will not work. Special caveats to receive the money:

    None

    How to pay for it: Stop all federal payments for 1 year, IE social security, disability etc, etc. (How much would that save?)

    Give the American people a chance to bail themselves out, yes we can with a million bucks.

    January 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  27. mary in Charlotte, NC

    I find it ironic that when NAFTA was passed Americans were told the process would be painful, but people who lost their jobs could be retrained for more technical, more income producing jobs. NOW the largest part of the stimulus plan is conprised of jobs for manufacturing and construction. WHO WILL GET THESE JOBS???? I feel that I am on a rollarcoaster that is getting to ride off the rails.

    January 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  28. John R. Chicago

    Man republican's are really making me mad, first off when all the republicans say that this stimulus is gonna turn our country into a country like France, that just really gets to me. Don't they remember which administration or which party it was that wanted to buy out the banks and use government money to buy up bad business's? Please they think we forgot about Bernanke and Bush trying to pus their financial bail outs come on republicans think. Its not us democrats that want this country to turn socialist, so please do not say we are the ones turning this great nation into a socialist nation.

    January 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  29. earle,florida

    This helps explain why the public schools still use textbooks from the 80's! To much money paying these bureaucrats(town/city/municipal/state,managers/lawyers etc.), six figure salaries,while never saving for a rainy day! They all rely on federal money,and grants to bail them out! Some examples of ludicrous salaries! In Massachusetts alone the Superintendent of Highways&Roads makes over $300K for starters and, the Mass.Turnpyke pays their administrators $250k/$350k. But get this ,they work long enough to get vested with a 80% pension by the state and do a flip-flop,"Double-Dip Roll-Over" into another bureaucratic job that pays the same with another fantastic pension,all the while fostering nepotism! Now you want to know where the money goes for these projects? This is happening in every state thru-out the great country of "America,...disgusted! JMHO

    January 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  30. Arachnae

    And to add even more to the infrastructure bandwagon, spending on infrastructure provides way more economicstimulus than, say, tax cuts. " Infrastructure spending delivers a whopping $1.59 in GDP for every $1." tax cuts to corporations? 30 CENTS. Tax cuts or rebates to individuals? A 1.02 – 1.26 for every buck spent.

    Source: Mark Zandi, a Republican economist who advised John McCain's presidential campaign

    So why are we talking about tax cuts again? oh right – because Republicans like them..

    January 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  31. Lief

    The American tax payers are always paying for the governments mistakes and miss management of there money. For example a blank check to the banks and auto industry that has done nothing but line there pockets and go on a spending spree.. This again has done nothing to help the American people in these times of need.
    L

    January 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  32. Maxine Goodwin

    After listening to the Reublican Senator from Indiana defend the racist comments of "Rush Lim. today I almost fainted. This Senator finally prove what so many people have always wondered, how can the closet haters still exist? Hiding behind "Good Ol' Boy Rush" is not going to work anymore. I have always tried to keep an open mind and respect for any member of the Republican party, but this Senator from Indiana should hide his face in shame, because the American people are no longer fuel by hate and indifference. This country has grown up and is moving on without looking back over our shoulders. The past may be remembered, but the past has been forgiven, and not even the likes of "Rush or Mr. Senator from Indiana can stop progress. President Obama is not going to fail because this country is full of Americans that are looking to the future and not trying to revisit the past.

    January 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  33. Beth

    When I hear the GOP leaders saying that all we need in the stimulus package is tax cuts, I shake my head and pray that someone will be able to get through to them... 100% of people in America, including tourists from other countries, not just tax payers, rely on our infrastructure every second of every day. We cannot grow and prosper as a community standing on crumbling infrastructure. Tax cuts help people who are able to pay taxes in the first place, the people who have jobs. I understand the theory, more money in their pockets equals to more spending and eventually job creation, but it is not enough. Working on the infrastructure kills two birds with one stone; it improves our country and provides immediate jobs for people who need them. I hope that all the money in the stimulus package for infrastructure stays in and that in the coming years we keep finding ways to fund the improvment of these aging necessary structures of our society.

    January 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  34. Jeanette

    We all know that its going to take a long time for the economy to turn around. The infrastructure has been a mess for years and will collapse if nothing is done. This would give our people jobs and help the economy. I think Annie Kate is right on target how to start this process.

    Also, I feel that they should do something about any business going out of our country. (Its a little late) but I have been saying this for years along with Lou Dobbs. They need to make it really tough on any business wanting to send our work overseas. They are crying now because noone in America can buy their products anymore .........YOU TOOK OUR JOBS AWAY. who can afford your products.

    January 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  35. William of Iowa

    So we are talkin New Deal II huh? Que up some Woody Guthrie jams, grab a reflective vest and a shovel boys, this land is our land and it needs a fixin! Trouble is, most of the New Deal I projects promoted growth (worked), were funded by the Fed to create co-operatives (read private enterprise) and eventually were turned over to the states for oversight and continuing funding, but with serious federal regulation. States have not been blind to deterioration, but unable to generate revenue by rate adjustment or by tax that could ever come close to need. When the federal government was called upon for funding it has always fallen woefully short, or placed on hold or totally ignored. This same applies to county and municipal entities. Citizens have for years paid taxes on fuel, food and everything else, led to believe that this revenue would be used to maintain our infrastructure and then warned we must do more or fail. Additional taxes were placed upon the ballot, passed and new infrastructure built. This cycle has been a fact of life nationwide for years and gave rise to urban sprawl. Now we find it wasn't enough, or it wasn't spent were we thought and our world is crashing down around us. The Fed steps up, antes up billions and lets legislators have at it. They will imagine huge new projects designed to promote growth, jobs and security. The cycle begins anew. The legacy of our forebears is not forgotton – for we build new monuments to honor them.

    January 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  36. Lilibeth

    To some, the economic benefits that will be derived from this infrastructure initiative may seem small given the enormity of the financial crisis, but it’s a step in the right direction. As an old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    January 28, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  37. Joann

    I think lowering the interesst rates to 3% .Will help move this economy. The banks need to give out money. If they lower the rates to an all time low, people will refinance , people who have 5% and 6% mortgages( like myself) . This would reduce monthly mortgage payments, and leave peple extra money to spend each month. The banks need to Give out loans.

    January 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  38. Eddie Vergara

    The economy is like trying to maintain a recipient full at all times. In order to do it you have to keep replacing the liquid that is lost or cover the part from where you are losing it.

    The USA has been importing more goods from China at a much lower cost than what we have been exporting to China. The same goes with Japan and many other contries.

    For example, we import more cars from Japan than cars that we send to Japan. Those cars are sold here at a much lower price than what the american cars are sold in Japan; Why not make it even? or why don't the USA put a higher tax on imported products? Our recepient is getting empty and theirs; Japan, China, ETC is getting bigger and getting full every minute.

    January 28, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  39. Annie Kate

    With all the infrastructure we have that needs to be fixed or replaced or even enhanced, I would think before we vote the money for all this someone needs to sit down with the engineers and put these projects into groups so that the ones that are really in danger of falling down can be done first, then the next critical, etc. Lack of planning, time schedules, and an idea of what needs to be done where will be critical to making our infrastructure projects successful instead of an embarrassing mess. I know we all would like something out there for the economy quickly but things as big as this that are done in haste are generally regretted woefully in leisure.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  40. Cindy

    Our infrastructure has been in crises for a very long time!! I am surprised that more bridges or what not haven't failed!! But I don't know if Obama's plan to use this to create more jobs that will in turn get us out of this mess that we are in will work. I mean it will give people more jobs but I don't see that it'll create enough jobs to make a difference at all.

    Cindy..Ga.

    January 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm |