Thursday, November 20, 2008

Arch Improvements As A Federal Public Works Initiative?

Back in the days of the Great Depression, strategies to turn around our ailing economy included completing major public works projects such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam, and Mount Rushmore. The idea was to strengthen the nation's infrastructure and create jobs.

The program worked, and the Obama administration is thinking about bringing back the approach. What about targeting the Arch and downtown St. Louis infrastructure improvements for one of these initiatives?

As a national symbol and a national park, the Arch is a worthy project. It suffers from dilapidated and outmoded infrastructure and improvements there leverage ongoing efforts to strengthen an American city.

Missouri Senator and Obama supporter Claire McCaskill is suggesting public works projects as a way to stimulate the economy. The Arch is in her home state. From a timing standpoint, we could work to complete the Arch project during President Obama's first term.

Arch improvements are already in the planning process. The National Park Service is leading the effort. Funding is always one of the challenges. Is this a case of need and opportunity meeting just at the right time?

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