Remember what is infrastructure

President Joe Biden’s administration has its Infrastructure Report Card as part of its push to persuade lawmakers to approve trillions upon trillions of dollars to be spent on an infrastructure package that includes plenty of spending that has nothing to do with what most Americans think of as infrastructure.

There is no doubt an infrastructure bill is needed. The report card gives infrastructure in Ohio a grade of C-minus, saying “In Ohio there are 1,377 bridges and over 4,925 miles of highway in poor condition.” It says that during the next two decades, Ohio’s drinking water infrastructure will require $13.4 billion in additional funding. The report discusses broadband access and infrastructure that has been damaged by major weather events in Ohio.

But then it ventures into caregiving, child care, manufacturing, home energy, clean energy jobs and veterans health. These are important topics, and present challenges Ohioans know they must face. They are not, however, infrastructure, nor should a bill that is absolutely necessary be put at risk because lawmakers are rightfully worried about spending the unfathomable sums Biden is proposing on projects that have been wedged in where they don’t belong.

Biden’s report is called “American Jobs Plan: The Need for Action in Ohio.” It is full of data that should, indeed, be worrying to Buckeye State residents. It should not prompt members of Congress to give the green light for a bill that amounts to a wish list for which no one has explained how we will pay. And it is important to understand we will pay for this.

That means we must let Ohio’s delegation know where we draw the line. Roads, bridges, drinking water, broadband … those are infrastructure challenges we must address. The rest requires separate discussion, and separate plans for funding. Surely the folks in Washington, D.C., know that.


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