Last week, a Washington State bridge collapsed and sent cars and motorists into the cold Skagit River. This has raised concerns over the safety of the nation’s aging infrastructure. Federal government officials and state legislatures have cited the country’s need for road and bridge repairs as reasons to not cut spending.
Governor Jay Inslee announced that there would be a temporary fix within the next few weeks. However, in the coming weeks, governments will be calling for even more government spending through the means of higher taxes and budget deficits to repair roads and bridges across the United States.
The Libertarian Party suggests Congress and state legislatures to cut government waste in order to initiate the necessary repairs. The first step, according to libertarians, is to audit the governments’ books to understand how they are spending the trillions of dollars they receive in taxes each year. It is noted by the political party that only two percent of a state government’s entire budget goes towards the maintenance of roadways.
“Road maintenance, construction, and repair should be funded as locally as possible,” said Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Carla Howell in a media release. “We certainly don’t need the federal government butting in and adding to the waste. That will only drive up costs more and tempt politicians to sign on to Big Government boondoggles like the Big Dig.”
The press release cited downtown Boston’s Big Dig project during the 1980s. At the time, politicians were saying it was only going to cost $2.3 billion, but the final price tag stands at $24 billion today.
Most road construction endeavors are financed today through bonds and/or TARP money instead of utilizing state or local highway operating budgets. As governments finance these initiatives through debt it creates a hazard for future ventures because government costs and debt grow and essentially the government requires additional revenue.
“Every dangerous road, tunnel, and bridge in America should be fixed or replaced immediately — but without blackmailing taxpayers for more money,” added Howell. “Instead, politicians and their appointees should be held criminally negligent for allowing any public thoroughfare to remain unsafe. At the same time, we must stop debt-funding roads and force politicians to fund road maintenance and repairs from planned budgets. As always, we must dramatically downsize federal, state, and local government budgets to remove waste.”
Infrastructure in the U.S. has been a contentious issue for the past few years. A recent Global Competitiveness Report for 2012/2013 ranked the U.S. 14th in the world, while it seems a lot of people are calling for heightened public construction spending.
Retired Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, his supporters and libertarians have turned to the nation’s foreign policy for the dilapidation of the country’s roads, highways and bridges. During the 2008 campaign, Dr. Paul said taxpayers are forced to bomb the bridges overseas (Iraq and Afghanistan) and then rebuild them with the chance of them being bombed again.
Meanwhile, the bridges in the U.S. are falling apart and there is no funding because a huge portion of the government’s resources are being sent out of the country – of course waste and entitlement spending are significant aspects of a paucity of funding.
“We have a foreign policy where we blow up bridges overseas and then we tax the people to go over and rebuild the bridges overseas and our bridges and infrastructure are falling down,” said Paul during the 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library. “We have a $1 trillion foreign operation to operate our empire. That’s where the money is. You can’t keep borrowing from China and keep printing the money. We have to cut some spending. We have to have faith and confidence that the market works, but you can’t do any of that unless you look at the monetary system.”