Falling apart and falling behind

March 6, 2019
It is no secret that America’s infrastructure is falling apart while we fall behind our global competitors. Instead of stepping up our investment to meet the needs of today and the future, we’ve actually ramped down. The same nation that built the 40,000-mile interstate highway system, cured smallpox, and sent a man to the moon has failed to muster the political courage to honor the commitments of past generations by investing in our crumbling bridges, roads, and transit systems. With Republicans in control of Congress the last eight years, there was only ONE witness that testified for only FIVE minutes in front of Congress’ chief tax-writing committee. That changed today. 
The Ways and Means Committee hosted a hearing on our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and the need for immediate action. We heard from experts in the labor, business, engineering, and trucking industries who are standing together to rebuild and renew America. Indeed, there is greater political consensus on the need to improve our infrastructure than on any other issue. Yet for too long, some in Congress have forgotten about the need to keep our investments current and communities across the country are paying the price. It compromises safety, while increasing congestion, pollution and commute times.
The failure to meet our infrastructure responsibilities poses real risks to the health and economic security of everyday families. This is evident in our own community, where Portland’s “rush hour” last more than six hours in some areas and there is traffic congestion from 6:15 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Congress needs to get serious about providing resources, expanding financing strategies, and planning for the future. It’s past time Congress put millions of people to work with family wage jobs, and improve the quality of life across the country with significant infrastructure investment
Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress