The Lincoln Tunnel and Triborough Bridge in New York City, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, and the Overseas Highway connecting Key West to mainland Florida are all products of the New Deal’s Public Works Administration, which went into effect 80 years ago today. The Takeaway spoke with Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania and the founder and co-chair of Building America’s Future.
The Public Works Administrations was the driving force of America’s biggest construction effort to that date. 80 years later, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the United States a D+ grade on infrastructure and 1 in 9 bridges are structurally deficient. Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania and the founder and co-chair of Building America’s Future, which advocates for infrastructure spending. He believes that the United States has delayed investing in infrastructure long enough.
Forty-four states and Washington, D.C. anticipate budget shortfalls of over $125 million by the end of fiscal year 2011, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Many state policymakers are blaming their budget crises on public sector employees, citing expensive pension plans. Crushing state debt has caused some federal lawmakers to consider a legislative remedy: allowing states to file for bankruptcy. But will declaring bankruptcy really solve states' pension woes? How will unions react? What other remedies exist for debt-ridden states?
A year ago Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter quit the Republican party to join the Democrats. He won the support of President Obama, organized labor and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. But he lacked the support of the voters and lost yesterday's primary to Rep. Joe Sestak.