There has been much talk in Washington about the need to invest in our nation’s failing infrastructure but few tangible steps have been taken so far to prioritize and fund infrastructure projects that will keep the United States globally competitive.
Airports are a prime example. RDU is growing fast and its primary Runway 5L/23R needs to be replaced. Yet, despite having contributed hundreds of millions of dollars into federal coffers for aviation projects, RDU receives only 3.7 cents back for every dollar contributed.
We are so pleased that the U.S. Senate has produced the first transportation funding proposal that improves America’s airports. This proposal provides sustainable funding to upgrade airport facilities, attract new air service and improve the passenger experience. U.S. airports have identified $100 billion in infrastructure improvements needed within five years. Airports should have the ability to generate more local revenue for runways, terminals and other projects to meet today’s demands and tomorrow’s challenges.
RDU’s Vision2040 Master Plan will allow the airport to serve the aviation needs of central North Carolina for decades to come. Vision2040 will require additional federal resources and flexible funding tools. With so many divisive issues plaguing our nation, it’s refreshing to see Congress working in a bipartisan effort to modernize America’s aging infrastructure. Congress now needs to take the next step and give final approval to these essential infrastructure improvements. American travelers deserve updated facilities, shorter security lines and more airline competition. Let’s get to work.
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President and CEO, Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
Former Pa. Governor and current Co-Chair, Building America’s Future
Increase IRS budget
I am pleased that the editorial “A heavier burden for a weaker IRS” (Dec. 23) focused on IRS budget cuts and would agree that one group of taxpayers benefit the most from such cuts – high-income taxpayers (personal and corporate). Since the IRS concentrates on this group when conducting their yearly audits, any cuts in its funding and personnel will reduce the number of audits on this group’s tax returns and the revenue that can be recovered.
One of the main jobs of the IRS is to reduce the tax gap (taxes owed minus taxes collected on time) which in recent years has been running about $350 billion yearly according to government statistics. The IRS reports that every $1 invested in compliance produces $4 in revenue. Any reduction in the IRS budget makes no financial sense and illustrates the old adage “penny wise and pound foolish.”
While the level of total federal spending needs to be reduced, Congress should weigh the impact of budget cuts on any agency or program before taking action. The IRS makes a good case for increasing rather than decreasing its budget.
John F. Bridgers