An article by Jason Jordan in the Wellsville Daily Reporter posted on Jan. 17 discusses infrastructure, specifically a proposal of the Problem Solvers Caucus backed by Rep. Tom Reed. Jordan writes:
“What we wanted to do as a group was to say that we support not only traditional infrastructure investment, but the infrastructure needs of the 21st century that will allow us to compete and allow us to grow job opportunities,” he (Reed) said.
- Reed advocates a user fee based system to support infrastructure maintenance.
- He asserts that too many project funds are spent on “studies, litigation fees and the review process” rather than actually building things.
- He proposes public-private partnerships to accelerate projects and leverage investment through revolving loan programs, bond enhancement and guarantee programs.
Reed said several projects n the 23rd District awaiting funding could benefit, including reconstruction of U.S. Route 219, the extension of a sewer district around Chautauqua Lake and Project Seneca, as well as broadband connectivity in the region.
Tom will likely discuss this at his Middlesex Town Hall meeting. Constituents might want to ask:
- Why are user fees preferable to taxes for project maintenance?
- Does he favor toll roads and bridges?
- Why are tolls preferable to gasoline taxes?
- How do truckers feel about toll roads?
- How would private partners accelerate projects?
- What sort of “revolving loan programs,” and “bond enhancement and guarantee programs” does he favor?
Note: Project Seneca proposes redevelopment of the lakefront in Watkins Glen and the canal leading to Montour Falls. It’s said to be a partnership between Schuyler County, the villages of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, and multiple private developers. The plan is to use about $200 million worth of public projects to leverage overall investment of roughly $1 billion over ten years.
“User fees” are simply passed on to consumers, which means the poor pay a disproportionate share of the costs for food, clothes, etc. If you charge a trucking company for tolls, that gets added to the cost of the product.
Instead of “studies” which carefully identify problems and solutions, what does Reed propose? We simply fund projects based on “gut feelings”? Or,more likely, based on political contributions. Some Congressmen always oppose any in depth studies because they do not want independent information.
We have already sold much of the military to private contractors. We have already sold much of our prison systems to contractors. As well as school systems. In every case, the taxpayer ends up paying more than if these functions were solely funded by government. And the services they recieve are inferior.
Mr Reed presents himself now as a “problem solver” when he was a person who refused to work with President Obama to improve the ACA, supports complete deregulation of the fracking industry and co sponsored a bill to reduce Social Security Disabiilty payments. He is not honest, in my opinion.
Well said, Joseph.