No Risk in Reinvestment

So, the experts from Michigan State University head to the state Capitol today to sponsor a public forum that asks 'Is Michigan's infrastructure at risk?'

The answer to that question, of course, is a resounding 'yes.' But the issue is not limited to Michigan. It's a super regional Great Lakes problem, which means it's a national problem.

The roads and highways obviously are crumbling. The bridges are rusting. Some, tragically, have collapsed. The schools are underfunded. The airports are increasingly expensive and inconvenient. The IT is limited, unless you're at Starbucks. There's really no substantial modern public transit to speak of, except in isolated spots like Chicago, Minneapolis, and maybe Cleveland. And the sewers are overflowing and bursting onto the Great Lakes.

More than ever, the region and the nation needs an aggressive strategy to invest in itself. Not to spend money blowing up and rebuilding nations halfway around the world.

To what extent is our infrastructure at risk? Or, put another way, how mainstream is the idea of literally rebuilding America?

The conservative Detroit News - the voice of the auto industry - today calls for as much as a 50 cent raise in the gas tax "to finally answer our responsibility to the national and state infrastructure."

"Because of decades of neglect," the op-ed reports, "keeping up with [road] repairs and building needed new capacity will cost an estimated $320 billion a year. Currently, the 18-cent federal gasoline tax raises roughly $85 billion."