Ali Hasan: Monorail to Vail still makes sense
Vail, CO, Colorado
If you’re seduced into listening to most politicians, you’ll probably think that our good country is headed toward infinite decline that we’ll never crawl out from.
Surely, any positive vision of the future is doomed, especially innovative solutions. And certainly, in our own state, a monorail on I-70 and I-25 will never be seen. But I deeply disagree.
There are two ways to handle major recessions or depressions. One way is to tighten up all spending, reduce growth, and proactively create a smaller society that will not spend as much money, as we slowly whittle away any available funds. The other way is to disregard all economic indicators, borrow large amounts of money, and spend it proactively, putting all industries to work.
Case studies are as follows:
Facing a depression, President Hoover rationally increased taxes on individuals and corporations, thereby reducing business growth and creating smaller systems of business. The result? Record levels of unemployment, hunger, and poverty.
And then there’s President Reagan, who when faced with the threat of Soviet invasion and a drastically declining economy, seemed to irrationally cuts taxes and spend on arms and new technology. The result? America produced its most active economy ever.
Thus, history is very clear on how to solve recessions: Lower taxes and high investment will create new jobs, develop new industries and ultimately, deliver us better infrastructures and work forces.
We can’t spend our way out of problems, but we can invest our way out. With that said, there is no better time to pursue monorailing I-70 and I-25 than right now.
Consider what the financial crisis has given us, in terms of benefits. The cost of construction materials — including concrete, asphalt and steel — have all fallen drastically due to markets in China and India halting new construction projects.
Labor will likely be cheaper, as well, due to a higher demand for jobs.
And of course, the cost of oil is down, making everything cheaper. What might have been a $15 billion monorail project before could possibly be a $7 billion project now.
Few politicians in our state seem to be willing to downsize our $18 billion yearly budget. Clearly, a one-time fee of $7 billion will not break our budget, and that’s only if the project cannot pay itself off.
Thus, it’s time for our leaders to take advantage of the current situation and make it better. Instead of bailouts and loans, it’s time to borrow capital and invest.
While I can’t stand his pandering toward the notion that things will get worse, I do applaud President-elect Obama for pledging to increase investment in infrastructure. If our president-elect is ready to invest in infrastructure during these tough times, then our good state should be ready to follow his lead.
Colorado, it’s time to build a monorail.
Ali Hasan, of Beaver Creek, ran unsuccessfully for the state House seat representing Eagle County.