Our Recovery Starts in Our Communities
President Obama’s call for a major investment in our national infrastructure is getting a lot of attention as the November elections near.
But lost in the foolish argument about whether infrastructure investments are a smart way to give the economy a short-term boost - they are – is a more important question.
Will low-income communities and people of color reap long-term benefits from these investments?
Our recovery will begin in our communities – and there is no doubt that low-income communities and communities of color were hit first and worst by this recession. Investing in bridges, transit, broadband, water systems, parks, and other vital infrastructure will help build a strong foundation for sustainable, equitable growth.
We already know that there’s significant pent-up demand for these kinds of projects. The federal TIGER grants program, for instance, received more than $59 billion in requests for just $1.5 billion in actual transportation grants. (Click here to see a map of TIGER projects)
Any federal infrastructure proposal – including the president’s – will only succeed if it invests in these core areas:
- Leveraging infrastructure investments to boost economies in high-need communities
- Increasing access to quality jobs, job training, and contracting opportunities for women, people of color, and low-income people
- Expanding and upgrading public transportation in urban, suburban, and rural areas
- Coordinating transportation, housing, environment, and community revitalization strategies
- Engaging the public - especially historically disadvantaged communities – in the planning and implementation processes
The President’s proposal heralds a new day of serious, solution-minded policy ideas in Washington. Infrastructure will be the backbone of any true equitable growth strategies.