Grading Wagner’s Infrastructure Agenda: Revise and Resubmit

PA Gubernatorial Candidate Jack Wagner put out an a proposal for infrastructure today. Not much in the way of specifics or substance contained within, or even much to write about. Here are a few comments on some of his bullet points:

  • Build effective high-speed rail systems that connect Pennsylvania cities to each other and surrounding cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland.

High speed rail has been a boondoggle for taxpayers – producing high costs and few riders.

  • Modernize state roads and bridges by building them correctly the first time, properly maintaining them, and making them safer.

There is generally agreement our roads aren’t the best, but I’m not sure if all it takes is an executive order to build them better.

  • Revive Pennsylvania airlines so that companies can connect here, by reviewing the tax structure compared to surrounding states.

If – as I’m assuming – this means to reduce taxes, Wagner is actually on to something here, as Pennsylvania has one of the highest tax burdens in the country and among the worst state economies. In fact, if he scrapped everything else and expounded on this point, he’d have a much better agenda.

  • Ensure that fair portions of Marcellus Shale revenue go toward water treatment and road repair.

There are already countless proposals to use Marcellus Shale revenue (including a proposed new extraction tax) on everything from balancing the budget to alternative energy subsidies to wildlife preservation.

  • Develop innovative ways to market the Commonwealth on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-80, and other interstate highways.

I’m not sure what this means. Better billboards? Well, here’s a suggestion for a slogan “Pennsylvania: Hey it could be worse, you could live in New York.”