Bridges and highways and pork! Oh, my!
Earlier this week the Obama Administration announced that it would expedite what it termed 14 “high priority” U.S. infrastructure projects. The following projects were selected for their ability to “create a significant number of jobs” and can be completed “within 18 months”.
1. Replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge.
2. Crenshaw/LAX project to extend the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Green Line light rail nearer to the Los Angeles International Airport.
3. Replace the existing Whittier Bridge over the Merrimack River in Massachusetts with a multi-modal bridge that will add lanes as well as bicycle and pedestrian lanes.
4. The Provo Westside Connector highway project in Utah. The construction of a new arterial highway between Provo Airport and Interstate 15.
5. The Baltimore Red Line. A 14-mile rail transit line connecting the suburban areas west of Baltimore to downtown, the Inner Harbor and Fells Point areas, and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Campus.
6. The Next Generation Air Transportation System Infrastructure Project in Texas. A Federal Aviation Administration (FDA) pilot project to create new aviation procedures, including the implementation of new routes, for the two airports in Houston.
7. The Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project in New Mexico. The construction of two water treatment plants to deliver water through approximately 280 miles of pipeline, 24 pumping plants, and several water regulation and storage facilities for the Navajo Nation.
8. The Denver Mariposa Housing Project in Colorado to revitalize a distressed housing project.
9. The City Market at “O” Street, District of Columbia. A mixed-use property consisting of 400 market-rate residential units, 16,000 square feet of retail space and a 57.000 square foot supermarket.
10. The Arroyo Sequit Watershed and Qwuloolt Estuary Coastal Habitat Restoration Project in California. The removal of existing barriers along the Arroyo Sequit watershed in northern Los Angeles County.
11. The West Coast Habitat Restoration Project in California and Washington. Four habitat restoration activities.
12. The Cleghorn Ridge Wind Project in California. The installation of up to 52 wind turbine generators along the ridgeline at Cleghorn Ridge in the San Bernardino National Forest.
13. The Deerfield Wind Power Project in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest.
14. The Dakota Prairie and Little Missouri National Grasslands Projects. An expedited review of oil and gas applications for wells and ancillary facilities such as pipelines and power lines in the Dakota Prairie and Little Missouri National Grasslands.
So where is the needed “multiplier effect”? We need to create permanent jobs, not 18-month WPA-type diversions. We need jobs that will spawn and support other jobs. That’s what the “multiplier effect” is all about. What you see above are political “sweetheart deals” designed to last long enough to cover the 18-month campaign period. Then what?
We need the 50 million permanent jobs that only an Emergency Shipbuilding Program can generate.