Local infrastructure projects poised to produce new jobs
A recent survey by the American Public Works Association (APWA) identified more than 3,600 ready-to-go local infrastructure projects that, if funded by an economic recovery package under consideration, would provide a stimulus for the ailing economy. Totaling more than $15 billion, the shovel-ready projects could begin within 90 days and would generate an estimated 532,764 jobs.
“Local communities are suffering, Americans are without jobs and our infrastructure is in a critical state of disrepair,” APWA President Noel Thompson asserted. “It’s clear that a commitment to funding our desperately needed transportation, water, sewer and other projects will put more people to work and help sustain long-term economic activity.”
Providing a sampling of the needs facing local communities, the survey identified a range of projects ready to begin except for lack of necessary funding. Projects include road widening, paving, traffic light and signal repair work, highway intersection improvements, storm drainpipe realignments, pumping station improvements, sewer-line replacements, treatment plant upgrades, water-valve replacement, pedestrian underpass safety improvements and basic sidewalk repair.
“Local communities have had to pick and choose which projects to complete instead of doing all of the needed work,” Thompson said. “There are projects that are ready and waiting; let’s invest in local projects so we can get the work done and strengthen the economy.”
‘Get your projects in line’
Brian Riedl, a senior federal budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation, sees a much bigger federal budget in 2009. Riedl’s organization is a Washington D.C.-based research institute that formulates and promotes conservative public policies.
“I expect President-elect Obama and the Democratic Congress to significantly hike federal spending, even faster that the 11 percent growth we’ve had in the past year,” Riedl told GovPro.com.
Riedl noted that President-elect Obama has promised massive spend increases for energy, health care, education as well as stimulus spending that would likely go to infrastructure and anti-poverty programs. “That’s where I would expect the bulk of the increases to be,” Riedl added.
Riedl offered this advice for administrators at all levels of government: “I would expect a lot of money to be coming out of Congress and federal agencies over the next year, so get your projects in line.”
The January 2009 Government Product News will contain more predictions on infrastructure projects in the 2009 Keating Report forecast of government budgets and spending. The forecast also will be posted on GovPro.com.