Longer Highway Bill? Try Term Limits First

Aug. 1, 2014

So we have highway funding until May.

Another Band-Aid. Another can of problems kicked down the curb line to be picked up another time, or kicked again by children too dim-witted to figure out something else to do.

It isn’t that elected officials aren’t aware of infrastructure problems and the economic benefits of a solid transportation system. They’ve been told, they’ve been lobbied, and they’ve seen the statistics and photos. Their limousines have probably even hit a few potholes. Unless they spill a smoothie on their $2,000 suit, it’s likely they barely notice.

The problem isn’t ignorance. It’s political.

No one wants to be seen going against the party line, raising a gas tax, or spending money that doesn’t lead to some kind of glamorous gain in return. Your senators and representatives would rather tell you how to live and how to get your health care than tackle a problem important to the whole country. Infrastructure can’t seem to compete with today’s hip and trendy causes and hashtags—or the political parties’ most media-savvy and frequent donors.

Partisan agendas and chest-beating, self-righteous social change have replaced the tradition of national responsibility and the once crystal-clear recognition that this country’s economic health is vital to its long-term survival. We’re mired in a cycle of futility that claims our industry as one of its hapless victims.

The “Throw out the incumbents!” battle cry sure hasn’t worked.

Did you know there are 14 current lawmakers who have served more than 37 years? Are they really that good? If you’re around that long, you’d best change history. Think there’s going to be a statue of Rep. John Conyers (49 years) or Rep. Don Young (41 years) in Washington? Maybe if they self-embalm in their chairs.

How well do you think they relate to today’s problems?

The cumulative effect of many legislators overstaying their welcome is like watching Willie Mays as a New York Met a couple hundred times over. Only it’s not a baseball that’s dropping. It's jobs. Needed projects. Maybe bridges.

It’s time to enact term limits by any means necessary. Congress needs its own 22nd Amendment, because this act has gone on far too long.

About the Author

Frank Raczon

Raczon’s writing career spans nearly 25 years, including magazine publishing and public relations work with some of the industry’s major equipment manufacturers. He has won numerous awards in his career, including nods from the Construction Writers Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and BtoB magazine. He is responsible for the magazine's Buying Files.