The first week of 2017 has brought new examples of the need to upgrade our infrastructure as Congress and several states return to session and roll up their sleeves to make infrastructure a priority.
While the new administration committed to make infrastructure investment a priority, the timeline of a new bill is still unknown. According to recent reports about the new administration’s initial agenda, there will likely not be an infrastructure bill within the first 100 days, but it is expected to happen in the second 100 days.
Many states, on the other hand, are already putting infrastructure issues on the table. In California, the first bills introduced in each chamber for the 2017 regular session address methods to raise more than $6 billion for state and local roads, trade corridors, and public transit. In Indiana, lawmakers are proposing to invest in the state’s roads and bridges, which need more than $1 billion in additional funds, through new gasoline and vehicle taxes. In Minnesota, Governor Dayton is proposing a $1.5 billion bonding package for state public works projects that will allocate $70 million for local road and bridge projects and $10 for port improvements. In Montana, Governor Bullock is calling for a $200 million investment of cash and bonds during the 2017 legislature to fund infrastructure needs.
The need for infrastructure investment isn’t hidden, as the sinkhole incident in Michigan, which forced 22 families out of their homes, reminds us. There was also a train derailment in Brooklyn that injured 103 people. While the exact cause of this derailment is unknown, it reminds us of what can be at stake when our infrastructure fails us.
Nonetheless, with actions being taken to improve infrastructure in several states and the possibility of additional investment at the federal level under a new administration, things are looking up in 2017. Both are worthy New Year’s resolutions to strengthen our economy.