Commentary: Obama's infrastructure plan sounds promising

This editorial appeared in The State.

Earlier this month, President-elect Barack Obama proposed to stimulate the economy, and address deferred needs across the country, with the biggest public works program since President Eisenhower launched our interstate highway system in the 1950s.

New roads would be part of the plan, which he wants to see Congress put on his desk right after he is sworn in. But it would also include making federal buildings more energy-efficient, upgrading public school buildings, making broadband Internet more accessible and giving patients access to electronic medical records.

The price tag could be as high as $700 billion.

While we await details, we are encouraged that Mr. Obama seems to be on the right path. A focused program to build up our crumbling road system, and create new jobs in the coming "Green Economy" in the wake of massive job losses, makes common sense in a way that other "stimulus" efforts and proposals have not. What does the country have to show, for instance, for those checks everyone received earlier this year?

Even critics of such spending recognize the advantages to this approach. "Government spending on infrastructure is probably one of the best investments we can make," said Sen. Jim DeMint before objecting that "doing it with borrowed money doesn’t make sense." Yet capital improvements are the one thing it generally does make sense to borrow money for — whether you’re a private citizen building a house, a school district building a new elementary school or a state building a highway.

To read the complete editorial, visit The State.