The big question will be how much acknowledgement summit leaders will give the big, smelly elephant in the room: the Republican tea-party obstructionists in Congress.
The one thing that big labor and big business can agree on is the critical need to close the wide gap — in excess of $70 billion a year and growing rapidly, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers – between what government at all levels spends on our surface transportation network and what we need to spend to repair what we have and accommodate future growth. Labor sees jobs (an average of 18,000 new jobs for every $1 billion increase in infrastructure spending, according to an Alliance for American Manufacturing study); business sees speedier and more cost-effective commerce. And yet, Congress has been unable to agree on anything more than short-term steps that aren’t even up to maintaining the status quo, much less making things better for beleaguered commuters or businesses trying to move their goods to customers faster. (more…)