• 73°

Editorial: A bailout for bridge?

The I-85 bridge over the Yadkin River has provided quite a bit of stimulus in recent years, stimulating accidents, stimulating traffic snarls and stimulating endless complaints from drivers who regularly have to navigate the narrow, aging span north of Salisbury.
Could its replacement now help stimulate the economy as part of an infrastructure improvements package being debated in Congress?
Perhaps, but don’t put out the “road construction ahead” warnings just yet. This funding idea is in the wish-list stage right now, with many potential speed bumps and detours ahead. It could end up being a bridge to nowhere. But it’s one possible scenario that emerged this week as the nation’s governors, including Mike Easley, went to Washington to press Congress to include a sizable chunk of infrastructure projects ó about $136 billion worth ó in any future economic stimulus spending. According to the Charlotte Observer, N.C. House Speaker Joe Hackney, who participated in the Washington discussions, cited the I-85 bridge as one of the projects on North Carolina’s potential wish list of 300 possible projects.
What’s intriguing about the idea is that, if Congress approves, it could bring a much faster fix than other methods that have been discussed, such as securing federal and state money through the conventional funding process, making the bridge replacement part of a comprehensive state bond package or going the toll road route.
Taxpayers experiencing sticker shock over the sums already committed ó more than $700 billion in the initial bailout to shore up credit markets, with automakers also pleading for help ó may blanche at the notion of spending $500 billion on another stimulus plan, as now appears likely. Opponents include several Republican governors, such as South Carolina’s Mark Sanford, who argue that another federal economic stimulus package will make things worse, not better. In regard to money spent on infrastructure improvements, however, it’s important to distinguish between a bailout and an investment. The I-85 bridge is just one example of the nation’s enormous infrastructure needs. We’re eventually going to have to foot the bill, one way or the other. A surge of repair and replacement work would help create jobs and spur spending at a time when that’s vitally needed. It also could help ease the budget crunch for states such as North Carolina that are staring at another round of cuts and belt-tightening. Hackney estimated that, without federal assistance, the state could be looking at a shortfall ranging anywhere from $800 million to $3 billion.
Whether a replacement for the Yadkin River bridge will actually emerge from all this remains to be seen. But it’s a stimulating idea to consider the next time you’re caught in a bottleneck waiting to cross the river. 

Comments

Comments closed.

College

College baseball: Top-seeded Arkansas routs NC State 21-2

Crime

Teacher accused of assaulting at-risk teen at New London military-style school

Education

NC court: Students can use constitution to fight bullying

Coronavirus

Vaccine surplus grows as expiration dates loom

Elections

Justice Department will review restrictive voting laws in Republican-controlled states

College

Wake Forest adding Ole Miss graduate transfer Khadim Sy to basketball squad

Local

Gov. Roy Cooper appoints new Rowan County Superior Court judge

BREAKING NEWS

Sheriff’s Office: Gold Hill woman likely killed during break-in

Crime

Fatal car crash turns into homicide investigation

Crime

62-year-old man killed in Wednesday murder

Business

Solar farm plans in Gold Hill met by resident concerns

High School

High school tennis: Salisbury’s Campion/Wymbs, Carson’s Perry/Conrad claim doubles titles

Local

Quotes of the week

Health

Local lawmakers weigh in on state budget process, potential for Medicaid expansion

Local

Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black discusses meeting with Department of Justice, calls for action

Education

School staff members to receive payments from unprecedented RSS bonus package June 23

Nation/World

Senators eye $579 billion in new infrastructure spending as part of $1 trillion plan

News

Veto likely for state bill on abortion limits

Coronavirus

Wealthiest nations expected to pledge 1B vaccine doses for world

High School

High school baseball: Raiders win first conference tourney in 18 years

News

North Carolina Senate gives final OK to $2B tax-cut plan

Education

Gov. Cooper visits Knox Middle School teacher, gives TikTok a try

Coronavirus

Salisbury Police officer dies after contracting COVID-19

Education

NC to give out $1 million each to 4 vaccinated residents