Skip to comments.Leaders unsure of infrastructure impact on Valley
Posted on 02/15/2018 10:08:30 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
WAYNESBORO President Trump's national infrastructure plan announced Monday that calls for a $1.5 trillion investment in roads, bridges and the rest of America's crumbling infrastructure, provides for about $200 billion in federal funds.
The remainder of dollars would have to come from state, local and private sources.
For the Shenandoah Valley, the good infrastructure plan news includes funding to help with the maintenance backlog in the national parks, including Shenandoah National Park, where there is a $56 million maintenance backlog.
However, a couple of local government officials and one of Virginia's U.S. senators interviewed expressed doubt about the trickle down of the funding for pressing Shenandoah Valley transportation needs, such as Interstate 81.
Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine spoke of Virginia's transportation concerns in his statement. Those upgrades include I-81, according to the senator.
"I strongly support investments to fix them," Kaine said. "But President Trump's plan today skimps on real federal investments to deal with those needs, and instead relies on local governments and private interests to foot the bill. We need an infrastructure plan that makes daily life easier for families in Virginia not one that sticks them with more taxes and tolls."
Gerald Garber, the chairman of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, said I-81 is a more urgent need than even the unpaved roads in his rural county.
"I'm a lot more worried about I-81 than unpaved roads. I live on an unpaved road," Garber said. He said the time lost to businesses sitting in I-81 traffic is costly to those businesses.
North River District Supervisor Marshall Pattie wonders about a $1.5 trillion infrastructure project split 50 ways.
"I assume Northern Virginia would get a significant portion of that," Pattie said of the Virginia slice.
Nevertheless, Pattie said "any investment is good for the country. But I don't see this impacting Augusta County directly."
The Trump infrastructure plan does include $18 billion to create a public lands infrastructure fund for the Interior Department. Most of that money would come from revenue generated by energy development on federal lands.
The dollars would help whittle down an estimated $16 billion backlog in maintenance for national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.
Separately, the Interior Department has proposed $1.3 billion in the next budget year to address the maintenance backlog. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the nation's parks and wildlife refuges "are being loved to death" and need significant work to keep pace with the increased number of visitors.
As much as I love national parks, I really do not consider them to be essential infrastructure. Yet if funding is provided, I am sure pet projects will get priority over roads and bridges.
The states can certainly take care of them, saving the federal government money; that is, transfer ownership of the parks to the states.
1.5 Trillion taxpayer dollars to make America paved again... o goody. I didn’t see any of our shovel ready jobs postings. This is a union bailout. Unless it is funding the completion of every inch of the wall I say stop bailing out unions and dem states with taxpayer money.
So now shovel ready jobs are in style?
Start by taking a hard look at the bloat in Interior in Washington. Send half of them packing and disburse the other half. Wonder how many lawyers on Interior’s staff?