Infrastructure and a Green Stimulus: Why We Must Organize Before Congress Acts
There are actions that we must insist the federal government do now to help the people and communities that have been devastated by the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic. Then there are actions that we are tempted to do right now because they would seem to be helpful—but will deeply regret doing if we do them wrong.
When it comes to infrastructure—especially in the throes of climate change—it’s more important to do it right than to do it fast.
That’s why it was encouraging to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late last week put the brakes on a push for a massive infrastructure bill through Congress. A rushed bill is more likely to perpetuate policies that have been bad for years and will prove worse in the future, such as overemphasizing highway construction and underfunding public transportation, just to name one.
Instead, those of us who care passionately about putting people back to work rebuilding America should be using the next few weeks to build a broad, powerful coalition for a “Green Stimulus.” It will take a massive, multi-issue, multistakeholder coalition to change the traditional trajectory of infrastructure policymaking in Congress.
“A Green Stimulus to Rebuild Our Economy” was released in late March by 11 leading experts and activists in the climate movement. (Disclosure: One of the authors is Johanna Bozuwa, a colleague at The Democracy Collaborative.) It outlines a $2 trillion plan that would promote the goals of putting millions of people back to work in critical rebuilding efforts, transition quickly and equitably to a fossil-fuel-free economy, and putting people in control of a larger share of the economy.