A recent National Journal article titled "For Infrastructure Needs, Payback's a Ditch" cites the American Society of Civil Engineer's recent prediction that the country will need to spend $2.2 trillion dollars over the next five years to repair and maintain roads, bridges, dams, drinking water and wastewater systems, the electricity transmission grid, public schools, and other components of the nation's aging infrastructure.
According to the February 14, 2009 article, the recent $790 billion economic stimulus package only includes about $115 billion for infrastructure spending - causing advocates to wonder if the Obama administration has a long-term agenda for bringing the country's infrastructure into the 21st century.
Former Reagan Transportation Secretary and Venable partner Jim Burnley cautioned that rewriting the highway and transit bill, and especially wrestling with the thorny issue of how to fund it, could take longer than the two years it took Congress and the Bush administration to complete the last reauthorization.
"I really am worried that it could take all of Obama's first term," Burnley said. "Short of inspired leadership emerging quickly, I think it will take three or four years to sort this out."