by Mark Longo

COVID-19 is attacking our health, our hospitals, and our economy. Long after the horrific effects of this virus are in control, our economy will still be reeling from historic levels of unemployment and economic shutdown. Some say we haven’t seen anything like this since the Great Depression. Some say we haven’t seen anything like this…ever.

While the Federal stimulus packages will help people get through these tough times, the long term solution is creating jobs and getting people back to work. And those jobs should include infrastructure.

“There will be no way out of the coming recession without a fiscal plan that involves infrastructure.”

Shai Kivity, “Why infrastructure is the only way to fight a COVID-19 recession in the US,” World Economic Forum

There’s historical precedence for this. The Great Depression from 1929 through the 1930s saw the economy in shambles and unemployment rates as high as 23%. FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA), established in 1935, put 8.5 million unemployed Americans to work. And boy did they work…

“According to statistics compiled in American-Made, the agency covered the U.S. with 650,000 miles of road, built 78,000 bridges, erected 125,000 civilian and military buildings, and constructed or improved 800 airports.”

Matt Blitz, “When America’s Infrastructure Saved Democracy,” Popular Mechanics

The American Society of Civil Engineers 2017 Infrastructure Report Card was not something to be proud of; our roads got a D, transit a D-, schools a D+, energy a D+, drinking water a D, and similarly poor scores for our airports, dams, and ports (

If we are going to get this country jump-started again, we can create jobs and fix our crumbling infrastructure at the same time. In these challenging times we need something to look forward to.

Mark Longo is the Director of ELEC825