In a recent letter to the editor, Mr. Foust makes many dubious claims and conclusions about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.
Let’s set the record straight on the accomplishments of the ARRA and the administration of President Obama.
We can then be confident that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will bring many benefits to the American people.
In fact, the ARRA was very successful and only about 1-percent of the approximately $800 billion was attributed to waste and fraud (source: NPR). The Obama administration inherited the Great Recession from the preceding Republican administration, an economy almost as bad as the Great Depression. The ARRA and policies of the Obama administration saved our economy and country. In 2009, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was 10 percent; in November 2016, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent (source: www.bls.gov). The ARRA raised the U.S. GDP by more than 3-percent in 2010 and generated almost 6 million job-years (years of full-time equivalent employment) through the end of 2013.
You have only to go as far as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see local effects of the ARRA; ARRA projects there included re-paving the Foothills Parkway-East, the Smokemont Campground and the Heintooga Ridge Road; creating new hiker parking areas; and repaving the roads leading to the popular Little River and Jakes Creek Trails in the Elkmont Area. Then-Vice President Biden was charged with overseeing how the funds were spent and 99 percent went to successful projects. The benefits of the ARRA to our national economy are undeniable. High rates of GDP growth and jobs created, as well as declines in unemployment, are all accomplishments of the Obama administration.
The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is a remarkable achievement for the Biden administration. America suffers competitively because we have fallen far behind other countries in maintaining and improving our infrastructure
The closure of the I-40 bridge between Memphis and Arkansas is just one example of the poor state of American infrastructure. Trump and other presidents have promised and failed to pass any significant bill to fund infrastructure projects. Only President Biden has worked successfully with Congress to enact this long-needed bill.
What does this mean for Tennessee? According to TDOT, Tennessee will receive billions of dollars for bridge repairs, improvements to public transportation, electric charging stations, airport improvements and additional federal highway funds. Also included are funds to expand broadband access to over 400,000 Tennesseans and funds to improve water infrastructure for clean, safe drinking water for Tennesseans. This bill will not only make long-overdue improvements to infrastructure, it will also create many jobs.
The Obama/Biden administration saved our economy and returned America to an economy of rising GDP and job growth. President Biden’s experience overseeing the ARRA spending is strong evidence that we can be confident that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will fulfill its promises.