If Life is a Highway, how come it has so many potholes? Irma Brinbach would be intrigued by the topic. You might remember her as the author of “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pitts?”, but I digress.
I was headed to Mississippi, the state not the river, to show cattle last summer and got to experience the joy of some of this country’s interstate highway system, or rather: the Hwy 40 Blues. About one day of bumping, thumping, bouncing, and jouncing on a less than stellar road makes you believe that you’re on the Highway to Hell, or at least a backroad Where the Sidewalk Ends as George Strait crooned. The point is that our once magnificent highway system that was the envy of the world is in desperate need of repair and, unless you sell tires or shocks, I would be hard pressed to believe that anyone could disagree. The question is: What are we going to do about it?
First, this country has been spending money like drunken cowboys in Dodge City at the end of a cattle drive believing that Carrie Nation was on their heels. You can blame it on Covid, the war in Ukraine, or the price of tea in China for all I care, but we have been spending it and spending it fast. The result of such spending is simple INFLATION. When you spend money fast enough, even a freshman in college in a general economics class can tell you that the piper will need to be paid and he is going to be expensive.
Your Chamber has infrastructure on the front burner right now. Our Infrastructure Now program has been a part of our strategic priorities for the last 5 years and frankly, it becomes more critical every year. There are some great opportunities with more than $110 billion for roads and bridges which we badly need, $66 billion for railroads, $65 billion for the power grid, $65 billion for broadband as well as other items like airports, ports, and electric vehicle charging stations. The challenge is that just to bring bridges up to good repair it would cost north of $40 billion according to Forbes. So, we spend the $65 billion and the right lane of I-80 through Wyoming still feels like riding a buckboard wagon across a gravel pit! It is imperative for us to fix what we can so that our costs don’t continue to escalate.
We are at an important turning point in this nation. We need to start thinking about what we need and quit the partisan bickering that leads to billions being spent on ridiculousness. Don’t buy it? Let me provide some examples. Here are a few of the doozys: The NEA spent $30,000 on a pooch production of Hamlet; $48,500 to study Russian smokers; and, my favorite, over $400,000 to study the Chicken and Egg problem. (You know which came first.) I didn’t even know this was a burning question keeping people up at night.
We need to focus on the items of importance to us. We need to fund interstates, broadband, other roads and bridges, and any item that drives the economy. Your Chamber of Commerce is committed to keep an eye on wasteful spending, redirect it to benefit business, and seek benefit for business wherever we can.
Your Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1907 and is more than 1,000 members strong. We advocate for business at all levels of government and promote our community to make the region a better place to live, work, and do business. Visit www.cheyennechamber.org/advocacy for more information about our work at your chamber.