Over the year the interstate highway system has provided hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of jobs during its initial construction and its continuing maintenance and expansion. It is the heart of the economic engine that drives our economy.
Now imagine if any one state, say one that had a Democratic governor, had opted out of the interstate system in 1956. There would be a giant hole in our national transportation system. We would have a state that would not have a link to the rest of the country. Imagine driving across the country on I-90 and you hit the Wisconsin border and you go from a four lane divided highway built to Interstate standards in Minnesota, where the speed limit is 75 miles per hour, to a two lane highway where going over 60 miles per hour would be sketchy at best and when a big truck passes you going the other direction you feel like you are going to be blown off the road.
Businesses would would leave this state in droves and this state would have been left behind the rest of the country. Tourism would take a hit and getting from one end of the state to another would be a nightmare. Not having an Interstate highway in a state would create a great amount of economic pain for the citizens of this mythical state.
Fast forward to 2011. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included funds for multiple infrastructure projects across the country. Also included in the act was $8 billion marked for investment in high speed rail. In 2011, Governor Walker (R) of Wisconsin, Governor Scott (R) of Florida, and Governor
Kaisch Kasich (R) of Ohio rejected federal funds for high speed rail. High speed rail will be the economic engine of our country's future and by rejecting these funds these three Republican governors have in essence crippled their own states economic future. The decision to reject these funds was done as a short-sighted political action without regard to the needs of their individual states or the needs of the country as a whole.
Declining these funds has meant missed opportunities and missed job creation. It also means that plans for a national high speed rail system are on hold. Three governors with only a political agenda in mind have disrupted and crippled the future of American transportation.
In 1956 it would have been inconceivable that a governor would turn down federal funds for an infrastructure project. Today, it has happened not once but three times. We have crumbling infrastructure, an underfunded educational system, and a growing gap between the haves and have-nots, yet Republicans only care about power and scoring political points with their base and not about the country as a whole.