Letter to the Observer: Infrastructure Needs Concerted Federal Action

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Editor:
Decades of underfunding our infrastructure, resorting to patchwork and responsive approaches, have become reality.
Our country faces unprecedented extreme weather events and other challenges from coast to coast that threaten our well-being.
So far, the response from Congress has been inadequate. When the need for new infrastructure investment is $ 5,000 billion or more, the Senate’s “Infrastructure and Jobs Act” only proposes $ 550 billion in new spending.
While we support this, it falls far short of the need.
We, the undersigned, mobilize our fellow citizens to demand that Congress respond to this crisis in an appropriate way: Congress session.
This $ 5,000 billion public bank does not depend on the credit allocation process. It does not require new federal taxes and will not increase our deficit.
By reallocating existing Treasury debt, as has been done before in the history of the United States, it will fund much needed and urgent projects.
Infrastructure requires concerted federal action. Throughout our history, presidents have deployed similar banks to build public works.
Washington built the first canals, roads and bridges; John Quincy Adams sponsored a network of canals and the first railroads, and Lincoln used the national banks to build the transcontinental railroad and extensive industrial expansion. Today we need large hydraulic projects like the ones built by Franklin Roosevelt.
New Mexico’s infrastructure needs are daunting. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, some of the pressing issues include:
30% of New Mexico’s roads are in poor condition and damage cars;
6.5% of our bridges are structurally deficient;
219 dams are classified as high potential risk;
The cost of rehabilitating drinking water systems is over $ 1.4 billion;
20% of students in New Mexico do not have access to the Internet at home and 8% do not have a computer;
New Mexico needs major water supply projects to bring fresh water into the state to cope with drought; and
New Mexico’s power grid needs to be expanded and improved to assimilate electricity produced by renewables and other sources.
Only the National Infrastructure Bank can meet this enormous need. It will create millions of new jobs, pay Davis-Bacon wages and impose American buying policies.
We are losing the infrastructure race to China. The Chinese spend 8% of their gross domestic product on infrastructure; Europe 5% and the United States barely 2%. Is it any wonder that American infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world?
Approval resolutions poured in from state legislatures, city and county councils, and labor and business organizations. A resolution was presented at the 2021 session (SM2).
New Mexico approvals include: New Mexico LULAC, Central New Mexico Central Labor Council, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity, Rio Arriba County Board of Commissioners, and others.
New Mexicans want to improve our quality of life!
We urge everyone to support HR 3339. Contact your congressional representative to get their sponsorship of this measure.
Signatories include:
Ada Lee, Democratic Party activist, Rio Rancho
Linda Chavez, Democratic Party activist, Rio Rancho
Dennis Montoya, board of directors and former director of state, LULAC New Mexico; Rio Rancho
Senator Bill Tallman, District 18, Albuquerque
Senator Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales, District 6, Taos
Senator Harold Pope, District 23, Albuquerque
Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, Chair of the Senate Conservation Committee, District 39, Los Cerrillos
Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, District 12, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Public Affairs, Albuquerque
Sen. Linda Lopez, District 11, Majority Whip, Albuquerque
Senator Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez, District 16, Albuquerque
Representative Joy Garratt, District 29, Albuquerque
Representative Gail Chasey, District 18, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Albuquerque
Representative Christine Chandler, District 43, Los Alamos
Representative Elizabeth Thomson, District 24, Chair of the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, Albuquerque
Fred Baca, Director of State, LULAC New Mexico, Silver City
Mark Strand, president of the Central Labor Council of central New Mexico; Albuquerque
Angela Merkert, Executive Director, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (New Mexico), Albuquerque
Sarah Manning, Outreach Coordinator, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity, Albuquerque
Josie Marrujo, former president of AFGE Local 4041; Founding member of the AFGE Hispanic Coalition; President, Board LULAC 8057; Albuquerque
Dr. Pablo Vigil, Board of Directors, Hispanic Medical Association of New Mexico, Las Vegas


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