FIXING OUR ROADS & BRIDGES
America desperately needs to invest in its infrastructure. Rhode Island, in particular, lags behind the nation in its maintenance of its critical infrastructure, including our crumbling roads and bridges. Today funding is inadequate to build and maintain the infrastructure to meet economic and environmental needs. However, addressing infrastructure needs is stymied by the realities of unprecedented federal debt. Therefore, we must get more “bang for the buck” and make our infrastructure programs more effective and efficient by:
- Expediting the Federal Permitting Process, to streamline permits and lower the cost of making infrastructure investments in the U.S. Our country’s infrastructure investment costs are exponentially higher than comparable developed countries – we need to remove barriers to investment and rebuild our country.
- Establishing an Innovation-Infrastructure Bank, dedicated to advancing America’s competitive advantage in the 21st Century. This bank could leverage a $10 billon investment to support credit enhancements to build innovative educational capital project to support career and technical education or some other functions.
- Re-designing the Highway Trust Fund System by turning greater control over highway projects back to the states. This would give states greater flexibility over the use highway trust funds to fix and maintain roads and bridges.
- Building America Bonds: we need to review the status of our federal infrastructure bonds and determine if employing federal debt explicitly used for transportation and critical infrastructure is a viable option.
- Coastal infrastructure: We need to secure our Rhode Island coasts and our country’s coastlines, ports, and other critical waterfront infrastructure to defend against extreme weather, tidal flooding, and the other consequences of a changing climate. Rather than alarmism, we need to make material investments in securing our coastlines from the dangers of flooding and erosion.