Does 16 years sound too long to lay concrete on a Chicago runway? James Freeman gives readers the lowdown in the WSJ on government’s failure on “Shovel Ready Jobs.”
Don’t Sell the $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Short
Democrats’ reckless $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill also includes a separate plan to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. Democrats hail it as a reasonable bipartisan compromise, but as Mr. Freeman points out, “don’t sell the infrastructure plan short.”
As leftists in Congress begin threatening to hold up infrastructure spending until they get additional trillions, sensible lawmakers should consider letting the Sandernistas shoot their legislative hostage.
From Tyler Olson (Fox Business):
Progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman Monday refused to rule out voting against the bipartisan infrastructure bill if Sen. Joe Manchin doesn’t budge on his demand that Democrats’ reconciliation bill cost $1.5 trillion or less – not even half the current $3.5 trillion price tag.
“We’ll see when we get there,” Bowman, D-N.Y., said on MSNBC when pressed about whether he would vote against a bill that costs significantly less than the $3.5 trillion number many left-leaning Democrats have said is their floor.
“But we still have several weeks, weeks of negotiation to make sure we are all on the same page before it’s time to vote,” Bowman added.
Mr. Freeman notes how the comment from Bowman is similar to statements by many House progressives and “Squad” members in recent weeks that they’ll vote against infrastructure if reconciliation doesn’t pass.
Mr. Freeman gives readers an instructive example from Chicago Tribune’s Sarah Frishtat:
The modernization of O’Hare International Airport’s runways, designed to reduce delays at the notoriously congested airport, is nearing completion. Construction to extend the final runway will be largely complete by the end of September, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Following additional work and required checks by the Federal Aviation Administration, the runway is expected to be in service in early December.
Mr. Freeman asks, “Who would have guessed that this project would now be almost complete?” Only two decades have passed since Chicago’s then-Mayor Richard M. Daley outlined his plans for runway renovations at O’Hare.
More from Sarah Frishtat (Chicago Tribune)
The runway work was intended to increase the airport’s efficiency and capacity for air traffic, [Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Christine Carrino] said. Future work will help the airport meet projected demand, including demand for gates, she said.
That includes an $8.5 billion rehabilitation and expansion, slated to be the largest and most expensive terminal revamp in the airport’s history. Set to break ground in coming years, it will include a new global terminal and three new concourses.
16 Years to Lay Concrete on a Runway?
Work to update and expand the Airport Transit System, known as the “People Mover,” has been underway for six years, and the trains have been shut down since January 2019. The system remains closed more than 2½ years after the work was supposed to be substantially complete.
Yet much credit goes to Illinois’ voters, argues Mr. Freeman:
Even though they kept re-electing many of the people involved in such boondoggles, many voters in the land of Lincoln have been skeptical all along when it comes to government infrastructure programs. Way back in October 2001, Yvette Shields reported in the Bond Buyer that “voters favor delaying large city and state projects like a $6 billion expansion of O’Hare International Airport and the $12 billion public works program known as Illinois FIRST, according to a recent poll.”
With new borrowing and new taxing on the menu in D.C., Mr. Freeman asks, “What are the odds the results will be useful projects completed quickly and efficiently”?
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