Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night good for U.S. infrastructure needs

According to two articles on, voters across the country passed a number of initiatives that will help address America's infrastructure needs.

Californians approved at least $27 billion in new borrowing, including money for schools, and $9.95 billion in funding for a high-speed train network. They also approved selling bonds to improve children's hospitals while rejecting a bond proposal for alternative-energy development. In Los Angeles County, voters approved $7 billion of debt for repairs to its largest public school system and $3.5 billion for the nation's largest system of community colleges.

Meanwhile, President-elect Barack Obama is believed to be putting spending on roads and bridges at the top of his agenda for stimulating U.S. economic growth. He promised during his campaign he would use infrastructure spending to create jobs, which would be great news for the AEC industry.

"We'll create two million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools, and bridges," Obama said in an Oct. 13 speech in Toledo, Ohio, where he outlined his plan for reviving the economy. Obama has urged Congress to pass an economic stimulus bill immediately after the election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said she wants spending on highways and other transportation infrastructure included in the next stimulus package.

Obama in February proposed an infrastructure bank to invest $60 billion in roads, bridges, and other projects over 10 years. The American Society of Civil Engineers says it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to bring U.S. infrastructure to "good" condition, excluding expansion costs.

President George W. Bush increased highway and transit spending to a record $286.5 billion over six years in the highway bill he signed into law in 2005. That was higher than the $218 billion for the previous highway bill, but was less than the $375 billion House leaders wanted to spend on the measure.


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