In this space, I have often over these past few years talked about the complementary needs to connect America’s crumbling infrastructure with the need for investment and for jobs.
In the past few days, we have seen those needs graphically illustrated with the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River.
Interstate 5 is a major highway through British Columbia in Canada and Washington state in the US. It is incredible, unconscionable, and really unbelievable that we would allow such a critical and important transportation corridor to collapse when we have such huge investment and job needs across America.
I’m afraid the bridge collapse is just an example of the infrastructure needs we have across America. For years, decades even, we have ignored America’s crumbling infrastructure.
When now deceased black political pioneer Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson was Chair of the US Conference of Mayors and I was president of the Atlanta AFL-CIO, he recruited me and convinced me that infrastructure repair and investment was crucial to America’s cities and to America’s productivity.
Mayor Jackson was right. Can you imagine the productivity that will be lost these next few days and weeks, because of the collapse of an interstate bridge?
Now connect that need for infrastructure repair and rebuilding to our need for jobs for working Americans. It becomes crystal clear that America needs a massive infrastructure-jobs program to do what moderate Republican Dwight Eisenhower did with the interstate highway system construction in the 1950′s, what Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA did in the 1930′s, what Abraham Lincoln did in the 1860′s with the building of the transcontinental railroad. It is time to repair our bridges and highways, electrical infrastructure, repair and build rail systems and sewer systems and water systems and put millions of people back to work.
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Photo Credit: Martha T via Wikimedia Commons
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