Beyond the devastating effects on a community, economic disasters can present an opportunity for change by highlighting a risky over-dependence on a single industry sector and motivating local leaders and planners to invest in the long-term resiliency of their community. Our work on the economic development team at Smart Growth America seeks to strengthen local economies through diversification—one of the most effective ways to increase long-term economic resilience.
Late last night, after months of fruitless negotiations and inaction, Congress finally passed a $900-billion COVID relief package at the same time as a $1.4-trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through the end of the FY 21 fiscal year. Congress’ actions are a good start, but America needs more in order to survive and bounce back from this health and economic crisis. This bill must simply be a downpayment, with more help on the way.
With the country still in urgent need of more economic relief from the pandemic, Congress continues to be deadlocked on producing a legislative package. In the latest proposal, Senate Republicans unveiled the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act last week—their latest legislative response to COVID-19 following the HEROES Act passed by the House more than two months ago.
While there are enormous needs for relief and support all across the economy, the president and many congressional leaders have indicated that they want infrastructure to be a major part of a future stimulus bill. If Congress does intend to use infrastructure spending to create jobs and support recovery, their own effort in 2009 has some clear lessons they should learn from.
Lessons and recommendations for future infrastructure stimulus Between 2009 and 2010, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA, commonly known as “the stimulus”) gave states $26 billion in flexible dollars to spend on virtually any surface transportation capital projects and $8.4 billion in funding for public transportation capital projects. With A COVID-19 recession all but … Continued