Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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Infrastructure bill isn’t the New Deal, but it could be a “big deal” for RVers

The U.S. Senate just passed its version of a new federal infrastructure bill that calls for $550 billion in additional spending on the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, as well as a renewed effort to improve the lagging U.S. broadband network. The bill now goes to the U.S. House for their input.

Any RVer who has taken a trip more than 50 miles from home can appreciate the need for some work on the nation’s highways and bridges. Many folks I know have a coffee cup full of nuts, bolts, screws, and washers that they’ve collected over time – all shaken loose from some dark corner of their RV as it rattled across a washboard road or crumbling span over a river.

Setting the politics of the mega-spending bill aside (19 Republican senators crossed the aisle to vote for the bill), it’s important for every American to have a firm understanding of the federal infrastructure plan and its ramification on jobs, local economies and our own RVing lifestyles.

What’s the real total?

The $550 billion in spending approved by the Senate this week is actually additional spending that would be added to previously approved spending. The total is actually $1 trillion in spending on infrastructure.

That number seems almost beyond comprehension, but it isn’t the largest amount ever dedicated to infrastructure, if you look at it as a percentage of Gross National Product (GNP). In those terms, the record goes to spending during the Great Depression in 1933, when 2.96% of the GNP went into infrastructure spending. To hit that mark now, we’d have to be looking at about $4 trillion on new spending over the course of the next decade.

The U.S. currently spends about 0.55% of its GNP on infrastructure, and that’s well below the United Kingdom (0.91%), Japan (0.94%), and way behind China (5.56%). Infrastructure spending is a big reason China has gained the upper hand as an economic world power in recent years.

Since President Eisenhower forked over the funding for the nation’s interstate highway system in the late 1950s, most infrastructure spending has been on the backs of local governments (about 78%). Although local officials certainly have a better feel for local needs, they have been left short of funds over the years. That’s a big reason we find ourselves with a crumbling infrastructure now.

The Biden administration’s plan is to reassert the federal government into public works spending in a big way.

What does the bill include?

Here’s the breakdown:

  • $110 billion to repair highways, bridges, and roads. It’s estimated that 173,000 miles of roads are in poor condition. The $40 billion for bridges alone is the largest bridge investment since the interstate highway system was created.
  • $39 billion for public transit systems, including zero-emission buses.
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail lines. That’s a record since Amtrak was founded 50 years ago.
  • $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations. This is one that is likely to greatly impact campgrounds, as they improve their own infrastructures to handle the expected increase in electric passenger cars, tow vehicles, towing pickup trucks and, eventually, fully electric RVs.
  • $65 billion for broadband internet access. This is targeted for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities through state grants. But any access improvements will likely trickle down to campgrounds and parks.
  • $65 billion to modernize the electric grid. Any RVer should welcome an electric grid upgrade to prevent widespread outages.
  • $25 billion for airports. For improved runways, gates and taxiways.
  • $55 billion for drinking water safety. Again, clean water is something everyone should have easy access to.

Why it should matter to RVers

More bridge and overpass spending could bring an end to scenes like this. (Billings Gazette photo)

Infrastructure is one of those things that nobody notices when things are working well. Good roads and bridges keep the delivery trucks (and RVs) rolling smoothly.

When things are falling apart or road systems and bridges don’t keep pace with demand, you get what we are living with now: long delays for a patchwork of minimal road repairs, decaying and dangerous bridges, and overpasses that “just miss” being high enough for your RV air conditioner units.

It’s not just about a smoother ride for your Winnebago. Think about the vast network of delivery trucks needed to keep the currently crippled supply chains moving for parts for new RVs and replacement pieces. When things take longer due to poor road conditions, costs go up.

The White House is projecting that the bill will add at least 2 million new jobs over the next decade.

Paying for it all

President Biden has vowed that nobody earning less than $400,000 will notice a hit on their tax bill. The money is slated to come from $210 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $53 billion in additional unemployment insurance aid that some states have halted.

The bottom line is that the infrastructure bill is a very big deal for all Americans. It’s going to impact the way we travel as well as the overall quality of our lives. It deserves our full attention.

##RVT1013b

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Vincee
1 month ago

This Pork Pie bill is nothing more than a boom to the handful of democrat stronghold cities in the U.S., along with payback for swinging the past election in the “D” direction.

Anybody the lives outside of large urban areas, aka city dwellers, will pay dearly with the tax and spend approach being taken.

Even the article within this newsletter sings the chimes of the party like a high school cheerleader with statements like some of the “new” spending will be offset by leftover Covid monies not spent. Well, where the heck does that money come from?

Already virtually every citizen of this country, and hey even the illegal residents, are feeling the economic impact in our wallets created by Washington leadership with fuel prices at or above a dollar a gallon more than last year, run away food costs, shortages of workers because Uncle Sam will pay you more to sit on your {bleeped} at home, travel, lodging and on and on and on.

I hope those that brought in this bag of jerks are happy.

Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  Vincee

Interesting the comments. Rather than discussing the bills intent and what’s actually in it, most devolve into repeating their “news commentary” political slogans, cliches and soundbites to fit their leanings.

Welcome to this years class expert graduates from the University of the Internet.

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

It’s mostly shoot-the-messenger diatribe with misused words. Chuck expressed his opinion on these keyboard warriors below.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
Micheal Whelan
1 month ago

You forgot to mention the Vehicle Milage Tax Plan, subsidies to electric car manufactures (I am sure GM needs more), climate change mitigation, new tunnel for New York (that they can’t get local support to fund themselves or a tunnel to no where) more money for NY rail transportation (on top of that they just received) crash protection for animals what ever that is, breathalyzer testing built into your vehicle starting system (great additional cost for our RV,s. It also includes hidden taxes that have the greatest cost to middle and lower income people. When I first heard the bill it sounded great. Buried in it’s more than 2000 pages is a lot of pork. I like my pork smoked or grilled, not shoved down my throat. I I guess this bill is another Pelosi “we have to pass it to see what is in it” way to fund the green new deal.

Eric
1 month ago

Mike tried to present what the infrastructure bill is intended to do. The response has largely been political axe-grinding that has almost nothing to do with the article, or the bill’s intended outcome. Reading the angry responses demonstrates how badly our country has been divided, and it has been deliberately divided.
This is being done domestically, for purposes of political gain, and by foreign actors, to weaken us.

Chipper146
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric

Open your eyes. This bill has little to do with infrastructure. It’s all about the “green new deal” and other pork. Too many people believe what they wish to be true rather than the facts.

Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  Chipper146

Nope, wrong. You’re regurgitating talk-show cliches and soundbites.

Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric

Yup! Exactly right, Eric. Very well put.

Lindalee
1 month ago

Mike, I think you opened a can of worms you didn’t realize was a can of worms! I THINK I understand what you were trying to say in this article (and I agree) – WE ALL NEED TO BE AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR GOVERNMENT, period!

rvgrandma
1 month ago

I agree. He seems to have no idea the reality of this spending. This is more about ‘green new energy’ than repairing our current system. As for improving the electrical grid – it does nothing to upgrade it to make it less vulnerable to hackers.

Ray
1 month ago

So where does the remaining 117.5 billion dollars go? Or do these numbers add to 550 if you use government math?

David Binkley
1 month ago

No one read it, full of pork products, most of it will be completely wasted just like the last “infrastructure” bill. Don’t be fooled, again.

Debbie
1 month ago

We can wait for a bill that’s not full of pork and overreach. There is minimal infrastructure in this bill.

Matt Johnson
1 month ago

I wonder if we could spend eighty and ninety percent of our GNP on infrastructure if we weren’t spending billions to trillions of dollars a year supporting other countries and illegal aliens in this country. I’m just saying we have the money for it the government, not the majority of the people, just choosses to spend it in other places. And if you don’t think this is going to up your taxes, you only need to look at past spending bills and cost of living and tax increases in the past.

Richard Hubert
1 month ago

continuing –

2> What concerns me as a full time RVer are proposed mileage charges and vehicle tracking, additional fuel taxes and even possible Carbon taxes. Also concerned about government technology mandates on what types of vehicles can be sold (EVs). While automotive EVs are currently impractical and unaffordable for many current drivers, there appear to even deeper pushes into technologies which really do not exist – such as EV semi-trucks. Or even charging stations which can support their size or huge electrical requirements.

Consumers have always been very good at choosing the best product options for their needs and lifestyle. We do not need government mandating these choices so it should get out of the way and let the free market work to develop practical, affordable and workable transportation innovations which work best for consumers – as they usually have.

Debbie
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

Amen!

Terry B.
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

Green EV’s!
The very definition of an oxymoron.

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry B.

I just drove 900 miles and burned so much fossil fuel I was proud on how much energy is stored in good old gasoline. Electric vehicles are a joke. Stop with all the nonsense talk.

Andy Mobers
1 month ago

Ahhh. gasoline engines are 30 to 35% efficient

Terry B.
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy Mobers

A rather general statement I must say. “Efficient” at what? Context please.

Martha Tassi
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

Boom. There it is. We cannot believe the nonsensical b.s. that suddenly the federal government is actually going to deliver on a promise. This bill has more pork than a case of spam. Most of the money will be diverted and/or wasted with little benefit to the taxpayers.

Richard Hubert
1 month ago

1st – From what I have read only ~12% of the bill covers actual infrastructure. The rest is a dog’s dinner of social programs and wild pork belly projects. But leaving that portion to other political discussions – lets talk about infrastructure –

1> Everyone agrees that our road system needs to be improved and maintained. But that need has never gone away, and it has always been taxpayer funded. Fuel prices nationwide include federal and State taxes which were supposed to fund road systems. BUT many of those funds have been diverted into other political pet projects. So to a large extent the $$ is being collected – but not applied.

continued . . .

Mike Gast
1 month ago

The intent of the article wasn’t to endorse or condemn this particular infrastructure bill. It was to lay out the facts as best we could, and emphasize the need for every American to become familiar with all aspects of the spending bill. Do I have opinions on it? Sure. Obviously the nation’s infrastructure is in need of a remake. Is this the best way to get it done? I’m not sure yet. But I’m going to ensure I know the details as well as possible. The fact is that the infrastructure spending bill exists and is currently working its way to passage. If you like it – or if you don’t – now’s the time to exercise your right to write your Congresspersons and be sure they know how you feel.

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Gast

Mike, thanks for the info. Keep writing in spite of almost everyone else within this post.

Lindalee
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

KellyR, you are correct!

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Gast

Thanks for the information. But, as usual, it’s being torn to pieces by the anti-everything, kill-the-messenger crowd. That said, perhaps it’s time to rethink publishing articles that have the potential to become political firestorms – considering who the president is (really is) and who the majority of the clientele here are.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
Lindalee
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

NRA and GOP you think, maybe?? Don’t lump ME in with THEM, please!

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Lindalee

I won’t, and I see it’s gotten worse overnight.

Terry B.
1 month ago
Reply to  Lindalee

I don’t think you need to be concerned. There is an IQ threshold.

Admin
Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

The “know it alls” in the crowd will fly off the handle at the slightest little thing we write that they happen to disagree with it. It’s very sad. — Chuck W./publisher

George Underwood
1 month ago

Oh and the reason the Fed Gov is doing this is the framers made a mistake and left “for the general welfare” in the constitution. They meant for the Fed gov to not grow to the fat wasteful hog it is now. I believe the states could better determine and administer their infrastructure improvements. Projects that benefit people nationally could be funded by groups of cooperating states.

George Underwood
1 month ago

If you believe, with a Dem majority, the average Joe will not see a tax bill hit, I have a bridge I will sell you.

chris
1 month ago

People should pay taxes. You expect something for nothing? The previous guy’s tax cuts were unnecessary and a political stunt.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
Andy Mobers
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

they sure helped the rich

Lindalee
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

I don’t know if you are male or female (CHRIS could be either) but this old lady certainly agrees with you!

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Lindalee

male

Joe
1 month ago

In a very short time we will probably see a per mileage tax. I wonder if the author of this article will have the same feelings? The federal, state and to some degree local governments have built them self’s into a corner by pushing hybrid, total electric and high fuel mileage vehicles. Now that we have more and more of these on the road the fuel tax is not coming into the governments coffers to cover road repairs. Don’t get me wrong all of these vehicles are good for the environment to some degree however sometimes we trade one pollution for another. I live in Pennsylvania that has the highest state gas tax In the country (Penna is thinking of a per mileage tax). If you ask me if our roads are any better than states with lower tax, I would say “not really that much better”, it seems that a good majority of our fuel tax goes to something else than the roads. Will this happen with the federal government if they slap a per mileage tax on us? I’ll let you decide that for yourself!

Terry B.
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Great post.

Diane Mc
1 month ago

Remember “shovel ready jobs”? Brought to you by the same group bringing us an “infrastructure” bill of which only 23% is truly infrastructure.

Andy Mobers
1 month ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

23% more than anything the last guy did

R. D.
1 month ago

After this article, I’m done with your site.

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  R. D.

After these comments, I’m done with comments. Too much negativity. Too much politics.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
Terry B.
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

Oh Grow Up!
It’s time you understand that neither you nor I, or anyone else for that matter, have the luxury of eliminating “politics”. Politics is like gravity; it is inescapable and impacts everyone and every object on the planet. Unfortunately, some it will inevitably be negative. If your primary emphasis is the reduction of negativity in simple commentary and if your primary response is to run away; let me suggest your future will be unsettling indeed. IMO.

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry B.

Too many angry people who don’t know what they’re talking about. But thanks for your vision of my future. I think I express the feelings of the poster who are getting tired of politics on an RV newsletter. If I want politics I’ll go to facebook.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
Terry B.
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

Not angry, just grounded. Not fearful but aware.
Not emotional but as steady as is reasonably possible.
Not rigid or dogmatic, just don’t suffer fools well.

You are absolutely correct when you say there are “too many people who don’t know what they are talking about.”

Lindalee
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

LOVE IT!! Facebook is surely the MOST political of the “social media” groups! Please don’t let these negative people chase you away from a GREAT set of RV newsletters!

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

Great!

DW/ND
1 month ago

WOW! Let’s see – Mr. Biden is going to use 263 BILLION of unspent COVID-19 funding to pay part of this bill and has avowed no couple under $400,000 will be taxed more. Well, who is going to pay for the 263 BILLION? Is that from the petty cash drawer? Also Mr. Biden said he is going to tax the corporations – corporations don’t pay tax – they collect it from customers then give it to the government in the form of a so called “corporate tax” – so, ultimately, we pay it – just like tax on tires and jewelry etc. etc. – called “excise Tax”!

States collect gas tax; the federal government collects gas/fuel tax – it used to go to the hiway fund. Truckers pay heavy road taxes in addition to fuel taxes. States in the northern climes have very limited time to build-re-build hiways and bridges and now, to make it even worse, they can’t even get people to work !

Terry B.
1 month ago
Reply to  DW/ND

Good points conveniently left out by the author as if fiscal malfeasance around infrastructure spending never happened in the very recent past.
The next bill in line will really make this author gush how lucky we all are.

PaulE
1 month ago

I would like to know why the US Tax Payer should be spending our taxes money for the development and purchase of Charging Stations for electric vehicles. When the automobile was first introduced to the masses in the prior century, did the federal government develop a network of gas stations across the nation to support them? No of course not. Private corporations built, and developed their own system and made a profit from them. So why now spending our taxes on something that private enterprise can do better and cheaper than the federal government can. Just more pork in the federal system.

Magee Willis
1 month ago
Reply to  PaulE

Absolutely, if it (charging stations) isn’t good enough for use to make it profitable, it probably isn’t actually feasible.

Marty Main
1 month ago

Per mile tax coming??!!! I thought I heard a Federal per mile tax was coming in this or another bill soon?

David
1 month ago
Reply to  Marty Main

There is a “pilot program” to do this included in the bill. Pilot program is just a government trick to slowly sneak things onto the people.

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