The infrastructure bill is a built-in failure

American infrastructure is in a bad way.  According to the American Society of Civil Engineers:

  • There is a water main break somewhere in the USA every two minutes.
  • About 43 percent of U.S. roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • The USA has an estimated 40,000 miles of flood control levees.  The location and/or condition of 10,000 miles of them is unknown.
  • The ASCE’s overall rating of U.S. infrastructure is C-minus.

If reports are accurate, the compromise infrastructure bill agreed to by the Senate will not meet the USA’s infrastructure needs.  It has failure built in.

The ASCE estimates than an additional $2.58 trillion is needed in the next 10 years to bring U.S. public works up to a B level.  The compromise infrastructure bill is only $579 billion. 

Only a fraction of that will go to actual infrastructure.  Much of it will go to welfare programs and corporate subsidies.

And it will be financed neither by increased taxes on the rich (best) nor by borrowing or money creation (acceptable because it is an investment in the nation’s future wealth), but by raiding funds appropriated for other purposes and, worst of all, by selling off or leasing public assets.

The problem with privatization is shown by the City of Chicago’s selling a private company the right to collect parking meter revenues for 75 years.  The city met a short-term revenue shortfall by imposing an additional cost on the public.

Some of the non-infrastructure things in the infrastructure bill are necessary and good.  Others need more discussion.  I’m not opposed to subsidies for corporate research and development, but there should be some way to guarantee that the benefits help to build up the American economy.

Better than nothing?  A plan that merely allows the USA to deteriorate at a slower rate is not good enough.


American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card – executive summary.

American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card – full text.

Biden’s Infrastructure Capitulation by Jack Rasmus.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement Is Embarrassing by Benjamin Studebaker.

Progressives Alarmed by Privatization Dub Infrastructure Deal ‘a Disaster in the Making’ by Jessica Corbett for Common Dreams.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Is a Stalking Horse for Privatization by David Dayen for The American Prospect.  [Added 7/1/2021]

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5 Responses to “The infrastructure bill is a built-in failure”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    I have spent a lifetime dealing with not good enough but better than nothing. Given the position he’s in, and given that the Democrats can’t agree on ending the filibuster, it is about the best he will get right now.

    If at first you don’t succeed…


    • philebersole Says:

      What you are saying is that the things that are necessary to save our country from decline are politically impossible. If that is true, our democratic system is a failure and the USA is doomed.

      This may well be true, but it is not as yet a proven fact. If we accept it as a proven fact, our acceptance helps make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.


    • philebersole Says:

      I’m not saying: Vote against the bill. I’m saying: Don’t be satisfied with it. Regard it as a starting point, not a mission accomplished.


      • philebersole Says:

        Well, in fact, I am saying vote against the bill if it contains poison pills such as authorization to sell off public assets. I am not saying vote against the bill because funding is inadequate or because its scope is not broad enough.


  2. Word from the Dark Side – Frocked-up Unabomber, DeepFake trickery, forbidding meat, plagiarism fail and stabbing the unfaithful (on film) | SovietMen Says:

    […] America’s infrastructure bill is a built-in failure: […]


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