Infrastructure Policy

"If you build it, they will come."
-- Field of Dreams

Infrastructure represents the foundation for our way of life. It includes roads, bridges, ports, power lines, electricity transmission, sewage, sanitation, rail, aviation and more. It is the underlying framework upon which modern society is able to function. We, as a nation, made a conscious effort to build out these systems and services in order to improve our quality of life physically, socially, and economically.

Our infrastructure was not cheap to build. It spanned many decades and many trillions of dollars. Thanks to the law of entropy and advances in modern technology, infrastructure requires maintenance and updates. But lately, with the last economic downturn and the current status of our economy, the desire to invest more in infrastructure has declined. Some individuals feel there are more pressing needs related to healthcare, military spending, or any one of a myriad of programs they are trying to fund. The result is a backlog of needed repairs on top of updates to outdated systems that may even represent security concerns (with software).

Thus, I present to you my infrastructure policy. I aim to cover the current state of our infrastructure, discuss the financial components to it, and offer up a plan to tackle numerous outstanding and necessary changes. That last part includes brand new initiatives like laying the foundation for extensive HVDC transmission and building a national gigabit fiber network to reach all corners of America.

As this is a long page with tons of information, feel free to use these links to navigate more quickly.

Status of Current Infrastructure
Economics of Infrastructure
The Sad State of Broadband

Steve's Infrastructure Plan
Public-Private Partnership Opportunities
National Gigabit Fiber Requirements

Concluding Thoughts

Status of Current Infrastructure

Roads, Bridges, and Water

According to the CBO, the federal government spent $96 billion on transportation and water infrastructure in 2014, 23% of the $416 billion in total spending across those areas.1 State and local governments covered the remaining $320 billion. In February 2016, the Council of Economic Advisers released their Economic Report of the President to Congress where they considered infrastructure spending as a percent of GDP.2 Capital investment as a share of GDP was, on average, 3.7% from 2011-2015 when you take into account federal, state, and local government contributions.3 Not since the 1950's has there been a five year stretch with federal infrastructure investment that low.4

That numbers, however, is slightly skewed. Federal government spending on infrastructure has largely been in the 2.4% range.5 And while the percentage of GDP investment has been relatively even over the last 50 years, costs have gone up. Between the late 1950's and 2003, cost of materials rose fairly steadily, in line with price increases across the economy; but starting in 2003, cost of materials (asphalt, concrete, cement, etc) and other infrastructure inputs outpaced other price increases.6 Constant spending as a share of GDP combined with an increased cost to materials has resulted in an overall decline in infrastructure "investment."

Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure as a share of GDP, 1956 to 2014. Average 2.4 percent

Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure Under Alternative Adjustments for Inflation, 1956 to 2014

No matter which way you slice and interpret the data, public infrastructure investment has declined in the last 5 years. The reasoning is likely multifaceted, as it always is with complex situations. The recession in 2008 hit everyone's budgets, resulting in a decrease in available funding. At the same time, cost of materials was still on the rise. Take asphalt, for example. Liquid asphalt is a residual from crude oil refining. As the price of oil increased, so did the price of asphalt for the most part. What's interesting to see is the cost of the materials (ie, asphalt) in the last year. Where the price of oil has declined rapidly, the price of asphalt rose, for awhile. This was not just for Maryland asphalt, but across the nation.7

Crude Oil index price versus Maryland Asphalt index price, 2001 to 2016

Even with material prices on the rise, work is being done. The work is just not being done fast enough. For example, while there are still thousands upon thousands of structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges, the number of both has been on the decline, falling an average of 2.7% and 0.5% per year since 2000, respectively.8 This is the smallest percentage decrease on record. Road systems and water-treatment plants built with federal investment 40-50+ years ago are reaching the end of their life-cycle, requiring more money that states and local governments don't necessarily have for repair due to the continuing recovery from the recession.9 Numerous roads and bridges- around 21%- provide a substandard ride quality as defined by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2013.10

Then there is the traffic congestion, something Marylanders are intimately familiar with given the construction/chokepoints around I-695 and I-495.11 Across the country, commuters spent 42 hours per year, on average, being delayed which lead to a total delay of about 6.9 billion hours, which wasted 3.1 billion gallons of fuel, and cost the economy roughly $160 billion.12 Not only does this leads to higher carbon dioxide emissions (which is bad), but even a 10% increase in congestion to areas with relatively high congestion can reduce employment growth over the long run by 4%.13 Time spent commuting also has social, physical, and psychological impacts on a population as well, but such data is beyond the scope of this thesis.

Electricity

We also need to acknowledge the state of electricity transmission infrastructure considering I've laid out a fairly comprehensive energy policy. The good news is electricity transmission investment by major investors and privately owned companies increased five-fold between 1997 and 2012.14 This reversed a near 30 year trend (1960's - 1990's) of infrastructure investment declines.15 Investment in 1997 was $2.7 billion, increasing to $14.1 billion in 2012 and then $19.5 billion in 2014.16 Projected investments are expected to surpass $20 billion through 2018.17

Electricity Transmission Investment Decline 1980 to 2000

Electricity Transmission Investment 1997 to 2012 from the EIA

Electricity Transmission Investment 2009 to 2018 projected from the EEI

According to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), there are over 170 electricity transmission investment projects in the works through 2025 totaling approximately $47.9 billion.18 The EEI represents a portion of the total investment, but this number is included to give a sense of the work being done and work being planned across all investment. These projects are multifaceted in response to many needs such as improving reliability, connecting/integrating renewable energy sources (often located away from large populations), accommodating changes in electricity demand, relieving transmission congestion, interstate transmission projects, replacing aging equipment, and more.19

A report by the Brattle Group commissioned by the EEI estimates a need for $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion in electricity infrastructure over the 2010-2030 timeframe to meet growing demands.20 This amounts to $75-100 billion per year. The difference relates to whether we take a path to curb carbon emissions, one I strongly favor and have outlined a policy for. Transmission and distribution account for the majority of those costs. However, while the report referenced "growing demands," please understand that overall electricity retail sales have grown at less than 1% annually from 1997 through 2012.21 That isn't to say the Brattle Group report is incorrect, just that a shift in perspective is in order when it comes to expected electricity infrastructure investment from a generation standpoint.

Overall State Versus The Rest Of The World

Overall, how does our infrastructure stack up? The United States is ranked 5th in the world in infrastructure according to the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index (LPI).22 The World Economic Forum ranking the United States 11th in the world when it comes to infrastructure.23 Considering the decline in spending and the age of current infrastructure, both are impressive. But neither should be taken as a sign that our infrastructure is "good enough." Our rating in the World Economic Forum's index actually declined since 2006, going from 6.2 (out of 7) to 5.9 today, a 5% decrease over the last 10 years.24

The ranking from the World Bank and World Economic Forum are also at odds with the grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 Infrastructure Report Card. The ASCE, in 2013, gave the United States an overall rating of D+ while simultaneously calling for $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investments by 2020.25 That's more than the total tax revenue in 2015 (approximately $3.18 trillion)! While I agree with the ASCE that we need to pay more attention to infrastructure and invest more in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, I don't think we're quite as bad off as they make it out to be. As an example, the "Roads" grade is a D, which implies that "a large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of significant concern with strong risk of failure."26 However, given the earlier data I mentioned regarding quality of roads/bridges and rankings from international organizations, a "D" grade is probably too harsh. A "C" or "C+" may be more accurate. And with other infrastructure sectors the ASCE measures, those grades are probably lower than they should be.

No doubt there is political motivation is lower grades. Infrastructure has become too much of an afterthought. The ASCE knows this. Such a strong negative grade is meant to spur action, to shed light upon the problem. I acknowledge that. Now I need to share my plan to fix this dilemma.

Economics of Infrastructure

Infrastructure costs money. Lots of money. Maintenance and repair is a big part, but upgrades and new infrastructure should not be ignored either. We know these are important pieces to improving America, but also know that money doesn't grow on trees. The $96 billion of federal funds spent on transportation and water infrastructure in 2014 amounted to 3.2% of all 2014 tax revenue ($3.02 trillion) while we simultaneously had a $485 billion deficit.27 Funding was allocated, but we did not go overboard because money was tight, we were exiting a recession, and increasing the deficit was seen as a bad move, even at the expense of infrastructure needs. Under current Congressional policies, allocating billions towards infrastructure is not as important as covering other social, healthcare, and military spending costs. I understand this rationale; I don't subscribe to it.

Kicking the can down the road is usually a recipe for disaster. This holds true whether you're talking about infrastructure, tax reform, healthcare reform, or even fixing your baseball team's pitching problems. Sometimes you need to give in to current economics. Again, that's understandable. But when it comes to the federal government and the economy in 2016, that excuse should not be valid any more.

Interest rates, that is, the overhead to any debt the federal government would accrue by taking on infrastructure needs is still near record lows, just over 2%.28 When any entity takes on debt, the idea is that future profitability covers the cost of the investment. A discussion on debt and the federal government is a different topic, but when it comes to interest rates, the amount of "extra" money owed on any debt taken these days is low enough to warrant a spending increase.

Returns on infrastructure investment are widely regarded as positive.29 Not only are they positive, but investment firms and insurers realize they are low risk sources of additional revenue at a time when more traditional investment vehicles may not be meeting expectations.30 Rates of return for infrastructure investment on private sector productivity have been estimated at 15-45% with more recent studies finding 30% to be a close measure.31 Investment also yields increased GDP, with an estimated 7.6%-of-GDP increase over 10 years yielding 2.5% higher GDP after 20 years.32 This amounts to an extra $132 billion per year over the next 10 years to achieve a return over over $400 billion per year thereafter.

Infrastructure investment will yield more jobs. How many is difficult to say. Some politicians cite the "13,000 jobs for every $1 billion spent" number, but that number is a bit misleading.33 That number relates to the Federal Highway Administration's statement that $1 billion in Federal highway and transit investment supports 13,000 jobs for one year.34 Other sectors receiving investment would have varying degrees of response. No matter how you look at the data, though, infrastructure investment does create jobs. As of March 2016, the unemployment rate is 5.1% which translates into approximately 8.1 million people- not including the 5.7 million that are not counted as part of the labor force but want a job.35 Infrastructure investment will not eliminate unemployment or find everyone a job that wants a job. What it can do is provide opportunity.

This opportunity manifests in potential work for new/innovative startups and small businesses. Remember that startups and small businesses are the main job creators in the United States of America. Under my campaign philosophy of equality of opportunity, infrastructure investment creates potential for more startups and more small businesses to emerge and prosper. Investment creates a need, the need represents working potential, and working potential results in employment opportunity.

Infrastructure jobs also provide more competitive and equitable wages, consistently paying up to 30% more to low income workers.36 Increasing spending will result in an even more competitive labor market, which yields higher wages to workers. Median income for infrastructure workers was $38,810 in 2013, more than the national median of $35,080.37 That number would increase under major investment by the federal government thanks to competition for work.

All of this is to say that infrastructure investment is good economics. And to ease the fears of folks who dislike government spending, know that my thesis on procurement and government waste applies here as well. Wasteful infrastructure spending is just as bad as any other wasteful government spending. I will do my damnedest to curb such spending in the realm of infrastructure.

The Sad State of Broadband

Internet speeds in the United States are crap. As recent as July of 2013, AT&T thought $20/month for internet speeds of "up to 768kbps" (0.096 MB/s) was a good deal.38 Our average connection speed as of Q3 2015 was 12.6 Mbps which is about 1.6MB/s, 16th in the world amongst developed nations, according to Akamai's State of the Internet connectivity report.39 The FCC has (rightfully) declared 25Mbps to be the minimum standard definition for "broadband" internet connections in January 2015, showing that many Americans still don't meet that basic threshold.40 Less than 25% of Americans have 15+ Mbps speeds, an atrocity for a modern nation that's supposed to be a technology powerhouse.41

Big data is here to stay. Hopefully not in ways that violate user privacy, but larger datasets can provide added insight into analytics of all varieties, be they business, government, scientific, or simply data related to some massively multiplayer online game. We have the storage capacity, we have powerful CPU's, plenty of RAM, and tons of affordable computer components. What we lack is the bandwidth to properly transmit it all.

Competition in the broadband arena is also abysmal. Were it not for Google Fiber rollouts, I don't know if we would have any gigabit fiber available to consumers today. Back in 2014, AT&T rolled out gigabit fiber in Austin, TX after Google announced their plans to bring the nation's first gigabit ISP to consumers.42 Then, when Google announced 34 possible cities as gigabit candidates, AT&T countered with 100 candidate cities... that it might get to.43 When the FCC announced net neutrality rules (which I strongly support), AT&T threatened to "pause" its 100 city fiber buildout, only to backtrack a couple days later.44

Understand that the big ISP's (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc) don't seem to like upgrades and spending money. It is more profitable to not compete, milking existing infrastructure in monopoly-like fashion.45 Verizon has pretty much stopped FiOS buildout and stopped standalone DSL sales back in 2012, not caring if users ended up going to a competitor because expansion to more expensive LTE connections increased shareholder benefits.46 The company has received billions in tax breaks and subsidies to build out its fiber network, only to abandon it after completing this much47

FiOS Coverage Map

My ire towards ISP's can cover many pages; it's a much longer topic. In the realm of infrastructure discussion, the important point to understand is that competition has been nearly non-existent for years, broadband speeds have languished, and our data needs are not being met, regardless of the billions of dollars that were being thrown at the problem. There is no more clear sign of a problem than when Google says they are looking for new cities to roll out gigabit internet to and places all across the nation practically beg for release from current providers. Thankfully, some startup and municipal providers are working to change that, but current gigabit rollout is nowhere near where it should be.48

Steve's Infrastructure Plan

When you are the most powerful, advanced nation in the world, both upkeep and upgrades take time and money. As I've alluded to already in this thesis, we have numerous infrastructure issues to address. Now I shall outline where I'd like to see funds allocated and why. Remember, this is on top of existing investments by the federal government; this is not intended to replace planned allocations. It is also not meant to replace state and local government expenditures. More on that after the details.

The numbers below are in billions of dollars over a 10 year timeframe.

Infrastructure To Fund Desired Allocation
Maintenance, Repairs, Upgrades for Roads 300
HVDC and other Transmission Infrastructure needs, including linking of regional grids, in preparation for additional energy generation 200
National Gigabit Fiber Buildout 150
Funds to address Rail System Backlog 75
Sewage and Wastewater Maintenance, Upgrades 75
National Highway and Non-National Highway Bridge Repairs, Replacement 50
Repair, Replacement of Levees Nationwide 40
Funding for Upgrades, Repairs to Ports and Navigation Channels 23
Upgrades, Maintenance for Inland Waterways 16
National Park Service Backlog Elimination 14
Upgrades, Maintenance related to Water Infrastructure, including Dams covered through energy policy investments

 

Total (non-energy generation) Infrastructure Investment - $943 billion / 10 years

Total Infrastructure Investment, Including Energy Policy Items - $1.378 trillion / 10 years

As I stated earlier, this funding is additional funding, meant to augment existing and future federal outlays. If we take 2014 outlays by the federal government, $96 billion, and assume that will remain constant over the next 10 years, that gives us more than $2.3 trillion over the next 10 years to invest in infrastructure. That is less than the $3 trillion the ASCE says we need, but my numbers do not take into account state and local government investment. In 2014, state and local government infrastructure investment was $320 billion. Keep that constant over 10 years and we end up with another $3.2 trillion in investment, for a total of over $5 trillion in total funding.

That's not too shabby.

Public-Private Partnerships

Taxpayers need not shoulder the entire burden with infrastructure investment. Opportunities exist for public-private partnerships (PPP). Cooperation between government entities and private sector firms can provide additional funds to be used in infrastructure buildout and/or maintenance. The way PPP's typically work is a firm will partner with an agency to provide funds for project completion, only to receive a return on that investment, such as operating profits. Naturally, before we explore PPP options, we must answer one fundamental question:

What should be free?

Our National Park Service consists of numerous free sites Americans can visit, including places of historical significance. If the NPS entered into a PPP for every bit of their maintenance backlog, a situation may arise where private firms decide to eliminate "free" in order to recoup their investment. This concept of maximizing shareholder value can turn socially beneficial aspects of American life into another business transaction. Consider the extreme scenario of PPP investment fixing every road and bridge issue in the United States, but at the cost of turning every road and bridge into a toll road. That's great for the investment firm but horrible for the American people.

I firmly believe PPP's can provide opportunity and benefit if properly setup and utilized. Opportunity for partnership definitely exist in the realm of gigabit fiber buildout, as the investing firm(s) do get a stake in operating costs. It also exists with waterway upgrades and repairs, including port modifications to bring more business to both east and west coasts. Transit partnerships with rail companies may result in quicker repairs, such as those to the Washington DC metro, or upgrades to railroad lines across the country.49 But in order for these partnerships to work out for the best, we need to establish proper PPP protocols.

The majority of these protocols occur at the state and local levels. While this thesis is about national infrastructure, all of the projects are state-based and will be handled by firms in every state across the nation. That means state and local governments must have a good, thorough plan for handling PPP's. Maryland passed a fairly extensive PPP bill in 2013 that can be used as a model for states going forward in establishing their own PPP models or updating existing ones.50

  • It allows state and local agencies to enter into partnerships without needing a second review by the state legislature
  • It gives those agencies flexibility in the types of projects they can partner in (ie, not just transportation)
  • It addresses the fundamental contractual issues. Legal requirements to accept lowest cost bids must be modified to allow procuring public sector agencies to take issues beyond price into account. Having seen the quality of "lowest cost bid" work in person many, many times... I stand by the idea that cost is not everything. PPP legislation should also allow public and private funds to be mixed.
  • It must take into account existing legal structures that might undermine the intent of the PPP authorization such as rate setting requirements, excessive insurance, toll authority, collective bargaining agreements, and more. Failure to address this may result in major project delays or worse.
  • It needs to keep as many stakeholders in mind as possible. PPP's should be discussed with unioned employees, non-unioned employees, and even users to gauge and address any concerns over such partnerships

PPP engagement should also be prioritized based on quantifiable public goals. This may be as simple as "replacing this aging bridge" to complex goals like "establish clean energy sources." What is called "value-for-money" (VFM) analysis can play a major role in determining what kind of projects should take precedence in these PPP arrangements.

Governments should not be using PPP's to fix issues with troubled assets. PPP's by their very nature involve some risk to private firms. High risk, overleveraged projects are likely not the proper venue for PPP's. Government agencies can work to bring the asset(s) into a more manageable state and then secure additional funding through partnerships with private firms, raising the possibility of success for all parties involved.

Most importantly, PPP frameworks must setup and involve clear, transparent processes for all participants. From project prioritization and selection to selecting bidders, negotiations, construction, and oversight, each step on the path to project completion should be known, understood, effective and efficient. No one wants to see delays due to unclear permit requirements, surprise zoning issues, or unknown board approvals along the way.

While not ideal for every type of infrastructure project, PPP's, if setup properly, can provide benefit to everyone. Taxpayers can reap benefits of innovative partnerships while private firms achieve revenue streams that may not have been available. As long as balance is understood, transparency is foremost in everyone's mind, stakeholders are all engaged with, and the legislative frameworks allow it, PPP's can be a major boon to society and the economy. Please keep this in mind.

National Gigabit Fiber Plan

Public-private partnerships make sense with internet infrastructure, as mentioned in the previous section. Even as a possible member of Congress, I do not think government should be in control of a national network like this. The potential for "Big Brother" horrors in the future are too great to give government that kind of power. However, as I alluded to elsewhere, the state of major ISP's in America leaves much to be desired given their penchant for profit and monopoly-like control of various parts of the country. Thus, for any firm to receive buildout and/or management funds for this fiber network, certain rules and requirements must be agreed upon.51

  1. No Blocking - providers on this network may not block access to content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices
  2. No Throttling - providers on this network may not impair or degrade internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices
  3. No Paid Prioritization - providers on this network may not favor some internet traffic over other traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no "fast lanes." This rule would also bans ISP's from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates
  4. No Content Injections - providers on this network will not inject content into the streams of users, be it advertising or otherwise, via code manipulation, packet manipulation, or any other current or future method
  5. No Banning Of Users - by building out this network, the United States acknowledges the internet as a fundamental utility in the modern era. No law shall be written that "kicks" or "bans" users from connecting to the network should they have devices and the financial ability to do so.
  6. Providers Aren't Cops - providers on this network are not law enforcement and should not capitulate to firms or industries that push for active monitoring of possible illegal activity, criminal or otherwise
  7. No Bandwidth Caps - providers on this network may not implement any kind of cap on bandwidth consumed by users
  8. No Zero Rating - while this should be covered by previous rules, providers on this network, for extreme clarity, may not engage in zero rating websites, services, or content. All are considered equal on this network.
  9. Safe Harbor Provisions Apply - current DMCA "safe harbor" provisions under 17 U.S. Code § 512 and any future provisions, modifications, or changes shall apply to providers on this network
  10. No Backdoors - providers on this network are prohibited from granting government "backdoor" or "backdoor-like" access to network communications without valid warrants. Access is then restricted to the specific targets of the lawfully issued warrant. This includes communications as they occur and to any log files that may be kept.

These rules and requirements serve as a benchmark for how I envision a national gigabit fiber network to run. I wish to make it as "dumb pipe" as possible. Connect and go. The economic benefits to individuals, families, and businesses would be tremendous. It would also introduce new innovations and new avenues of competition as both speed and bandwidth becomes available to stream multiple 4k movies or TV shows at once. Some existing market forces may not like this; others might relish the potential opportunities.

These rules are not set in stone. I have to give this caveat due to national and local security concerns. No doubt some special cases may exist that violate a rule here, such as removing access to the network for a convicted terrorist (violating the "no banning of users" rule). Those caveats and special case-by-case scenarios can be fleshed out in the future. I don't see copyright as ever being a reason to violate these rules.

Concluding Thoughts

Our infrastructure is currently ranked among the best in the world, but those ratings have been on the decline as roads, pipes, water treatment plants, and more reach and surpass end-of-life years. Investing in infrastructure with the goal of changing that, especially when interest rates are as low as they are, should be a no brainer. We have hundreds of billions of dollars worth of repairs and replacement work that needs to be done. Kicking the can down the road will only make necessary outlays that much higher in the future. Failing to tackling this problem results in greater economic burdens for governments and individuals. Traffic congestion, wasted fuel, unclean drinking water, port buildup for increased economic control, a powerful fiber network for everyone to use, and so much more is well worth the cost.

Remember- these costs don't have to add anything to our current deficit. If we follow the tax plan and other economic reforms to healthcare and intellectual property I've put forth, plus work out more public-private partnerships, everything will be paid for while most everyone enjoys lower income taxes. Sounds like a good idea to me. Then again, I'm biased :)

 

(1) See Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2014 from the CBO.

(2) See ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT Together With THE ANNUAL REPORT of the COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS from February 2016.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Ibid.

(5) See Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2014 from the CBO, specifically exhibit 3.

(6) See Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2014 from the CBO, specificially exhibit 2.

(7) See Falling Oil Prices Have Limited Impact on Asphalt.

(8) See ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT Together With THE ANNUAL REPORT of the COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS from February 2016.

(9) See Infrastructure 2011, A Strategic Priority.

(10) See Table 1-27: Condition of U.S. Roadways by Functional System from the Department of Transportation. The table refers to the Internation Roughness Index (yes, there is such a thing). Lower is better.

(11) See 10 Cities With the Worst Traffic. 24/7 Wall St is a USA Today content partner. As you can see, DC-VA-MD was rated as having the worst traffic in the country in 2015.

(12) See ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT Together With THE ANNUAL REPORT of the COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS from February 2016. Specifically, Table 6-2 which measures US traffic congestion.

(13) See Does traffic congestion reduce employment growth?.

(14) See Investment in electricity transmission infrastructure shows steady increase from the EIA.

(15) Ibid.

(16) See Actual and Planned Transmission Investment by Investor-Owned Utilities (2009 – 2018).

(17) Ibid.

(18) See TRANSMISSION PROJECTS: AT A GLANCE — Executive Summary.

(19) See TRANSMISSION PROJECTS: AT A GLANCE — Executive Summary from the EEI and Investment in electricity transmission infrastructure shows steady increase from the EIA.

(20) See Transforming America’s Power Industry: The Investment Challenge 2010-2030.

(21) See Annual Energy Review - Table 8.1 Electricity Overview, 1949-2011 from the EIA.

(22) See Logistics Performance Index -- INTERNATIONAL LPI GLOBAL RANKING from the World Bank. Global rankings are from 2014.

(23) See Competitiveness Rankings. from the World Economic Forum. You can look up rankings for many areas, be it infrastructure (2nd pillar), security, education, or something else entirely. Quite handy.

(24) See ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT Together With THE ANNUAL REPORT of the COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS from February 2016.

(25) See American Infrastructure Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

(26) See About The Report Card: Methodology.

(27) See Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2014 from the CBO for the $96 billion number and Joint Statement of Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan on Budget Results for Fiscal Year 2014 from the Department of the Treasury for 2014 tax revenue and deficit numbers.

(28) See Average Interest Rates on U.S. Treasury Securities from the Department of the Treasury.

(29) See PUBLIC INVESTMENT, The next ‘new thing’ for powering economic growth from the Economic Policy Institute.

(30) See Infrastructure Investing: Key Benefits and Risks from JP Morgan in 2009, explaining how even an investment firm sees infrastructure investment as solid during the recession. See also Infrastructure investments from Ernest & Young in 2015, which again shows infrastructure investment as an attractive option to help deliver a prosperous and sustainable economy. Many other examples exist as well. Only government seems to not want to increase these investments.

(31) See PUBLIC INVESTMENT, The next ‘new thing’ for powering economic growth from the Economic Policy Institute.

(32) Ibid.

(33) Bernie Sanders, for example, often cites the "13,000 jobs for every $1 billion spent" numbers. See Investing in infrastructure will support 13 million jobs from the Senate Budget Committee, of which Senator Sanders is a ranking member.

(34) See Employment Impacts of Highway Infrastructure Investment from the Federal Highway Administration.

(35) See Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Economic News Release, citing April 2016 numbers.

(36) See Expanding pportunity through infrastructure jobs from Brookings Institute.

(37) Ibid.

(38) See $20 for 768Kbps Internet? AT&T "deal" shows sad state of US broadband.

(39) See akamai’s [state of the internet] Q3 2015 report.

(40) See Only 25Mbps and up will qualify as broadband under new FCC definition.

(41) See akamai’s [state of the internet] Q3 2015 report.

(42) See Competition gets AT&T to follow Google’s lead with gigabit fiber.

(43) See AT&T copies Google, names 100 cities where it could offer gigabit fiber.

(44) See AT&T to "pause" 100-city fiber buildout because of net neutrality rules for the "pause" and then see AT&T backtracks on fiber claims, says it won’t really halt 100-city plan for their "correction."

(45) See Verizon Vs. AT&T: Which Has A Better Operating Strategy For The Future? as an example of market analysts looking at AT&T and Verizon while talking about the problems of competition, data caps, and more as ways the companies can increase shareholder value for the future. This was back in early 2015.

(46) See Verizon is Willfully Driving DSL Users Into the Arms of Cable.

(47) See Finally a Verizon Fios Availability Map which shows the extremely depressing picture of FiOS rollout.

(48) See Where in America Can You Get Gigabit Internet (Right Now)?.

(49) See Metro will shut down sections of lines for year-long subway repair work.

(50) See House Bill 560, Public–Private Partnerships passed by the Maryland General Assembly and codified into law in 2013 under Governor Martin O'Malley.

(51) It's no coincidence that these rules include and expand upon the FCC's "Open Internet" / net neutrality rules previously established. See Open Internet from the FCC.

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