Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Infrastructure plan ‘fairy dust’

Dec. 5. [OPINION] A Washington Post article ( Think tank casts doubts on Trump infrastructure plan), is one of the most succinct articles I have read on how the Trump Administration plans to fund road and infrastructure during his administration.  This plan is a variation on one proposed by the Democrats.  Both plans promise massive amounts of private capital for road and bridge projects.  The fairy dust politics of this are hard for elected leaders to resist since they promise jobs for construction and minimal taxpayer contribution.  The problem comes years later when the cumulative effect of extremely expensive roads funded by tolls hobble our economy and discretionary spending.  The take-away from the article is that there is no shortage of capital to rebuild our infrastructure—it is a shortage of political will to raise taxes to fund more efficient and cost effective infrastructure solutions using the available capital.  Many if not all of you may have stopped reading at this point because I said “raise taxes” but this problem has be deferred for several decades and is now so big we are forced into “payday lender” strategies such as Public Private Partnerships (I77 HOT lanes in Lake Norman is an example of that desperation). All is not lost.   Our elected leaders are very clever and have been working to avoid the political backlash of raising taxes in an obvious way.  Check your vehicle registration fees and other vehicle owner costs.  The political system is adapting but needs political cover and voter understanding of the problem.  This article is meant to help with that.

 

—Vince Winegardner

Winegardner, a Lake Norman businessman and retired Air Force officer, has been a leader in the fight against tolls on I-77. A Davidson resident, he is a property owner in the NorthCross Shopping Center in Huntersville

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