Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pennsylvania Infrastructure and the New Deal

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The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave Pennsylvania infrastructure a letter grade of "C-", giving especially poor grades to its road system (D-).

During the New Deal era, when government was not as helpless, polarized, and leadership-deficient as it is today, policymakers upgraded Pennsylvania infrastructure on a colossal scale. For example, the WPA created or improved 18,000 miles of Pennsylvania roadway, engaged in over 2,000 bridge projects, and installed tens of thousands of culverts (Federal Works Agency, Final Report on the WPA Program, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946, p. 135).

Unfortunately, many Americans do not know (or care) about this history, and so are susceptible to the idea that if we just pamper the super-wealthy a little more, everything will be a-ok. Hence, our infrastructure will continue to crumble a little more every day while billionaires like the Koch brothers keep pocketing more billions.

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