|Momentum for Infrastructure Bills?
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), sending the massive stimulus legislation to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The $2 trillion coronavirus response bill is the third aid package from Congress is meant to keep businesses and individuals afloat during an unprecedented freeze on the majority of American life. For a variety of reasons, we believe there will likely be more stimulus legislation in the future, and infrastructure investment may be a central component of additional efforts to recover the economy and get people back to work.
Without a doubt, proposals for including sizable infrastructure spending in coronavirus response/economic stimulus bills will receive bipartisan support. There is a strong economic and fiscal basis for stimulus spending on roads, bridges, transit, etc. Infrastructure spending has a high multiplier effect, adding indirect economic value beyond the immediate investment in construction companies and related contractors or materials suppliers. A dollar spent on infrastructure can go further than many other forms of stimulus. State and local governments are also already facing declining revenues due to quarantines, diminished economic activity, and new public health expenditures. Many state constitutions prevent deficit spending, so absent new taxes – an unlikely scenario – they will be stymied in making new investments in stimulus-type programs, such as infrastructure, and may even have to curtail current road-building budgets.
Beyond the scope of infrastructure investment, funding will likely be front-loaded, rather than a typical year-over-year spread. The stimulus of 2009 focused on ‘shovel ready’ projects, which resulted in lots of repaving and maintenance versus large new projects, a similar focus on near-term efforts to quickly create jobs is foreseeable.
We at the MRF will continue to advocate for the priorities of motorcyclists in an infrastructure bill. We will also rely on you to help push your elected officials into remembering motorcyclists when passing these massive legislative packages.