Again, I raise the issue of infrastructure needs where in Washington they keep kicking the can down the road, delaying further action needed to properly fund transportation. This is an area going back to President Lincoln, where at least some understood that many major infrastructure projects would only happen with federal leadership and money. For Lincoln, it was the transcontinental railroad connecting east and west and significantly enhancing commerce. For President Eisenhower, it was the highway needs which led to the interstate highway system and one of his major achievements. These major initiatives only made good sense when looked at in the bigger picture with Federal support.
But even if you want to look at projects that could be built within one state, coming up with the money—that is, raising the taxes to do so—all too often is politically impossible. In this case, I’m not just talking about the just say ‘no’ crowd. I’m talking about tax policy that can't ignore what surrounding states impose. Get the sales tax above the competition and you know where at least some are going to buy a new car or with the gas tax, if they live close to a border, where one would fill up. It’s another reason why federal leadership and funding is so important when it comes to infrastructure in particular.
Then from the local officials’ point of view, it is not just the issue of under-funding basic programs like infrastructure at both the state and federal level. In Kansas, we have had the Kansas Department of Transportation resources used by the legislature and the Governor to fill holes created by the tax cut of 2012. With winter coming and local potholes not fixed, be careful about attacking your local officials. The fault likely falls on those above, through short-sighted policy from the state and federal levels. With this irresponsible environment, it is truly amazing we have so many wonderful people serving in local government.