Jun 3, 201310:47 AMTransportation Matters
with Debby Jackson
Let’s put the horse back before the cart when it comes to transportation investment
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If you want to talk jobs, the number of people in the construction industry alone who will be employed by the private sector to build all these hotels, restaurants, stores, and office buildings will certainly eclipse the number working on the road projects themselves. Beyond that, of course, is the real payoff. The number of people gainfully employed with all these new endeavors, the overall economic activity generated, and the improved stature of Milwaukee as a whole represent the real Holy Grail.
While this project may be dramatic, it is not an anomaly. There are communities across Wisconsin that have seen the transformational effects of various transportation projects over the decades.
So let’s acknowledge that while it is a tremendous benefit that skilled people are put to work when we undertake restoring or reconstituting our transportation system, it is a side benefit, not the purpose of the investment. The real purpose, of course, is what the investment does for the community.
Maybe, if the economy continues to improve and unemployment numbers fall, we will once again talk about these investments based on their long-term impacts rather than simply trying to sell them based on how many direct jobs are “created” today.
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