Project Astra’s first pillar is about rebuilding our inner cities’ infrastructure. Our nation already spends more than $350 billion on our infrastructure annually. This first pillar will focus on a commitment to two new policies and rebalancing this spending in the process.
According to data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), as of 2012, the federal government spent about $126 billion on non-defense investments through direct spending and transfers to state and local governments. Each year, state and local governments spend more than $250 billion on constructing roads, schools and other public infrastructure1.
The two policies we propose are:
1. We designate 15% of our country’s annual spending on infrastructure to specific impoverished communities (as defined by the federal government as Opportunity or Enterprise Zones – $50 billion annually)
2. We require a national workforce hiring policy on all public works construction in the Opportunity/Enterprise Zones. At least 25% of the construction workers hired for these projects must meet at least one of these criteria:
· Foster care child aging out of the system (these children get first priority in all opportunities)
· Opportunity Zone resident and is living below the poverty line
· Formerly incarcerated individual
· Military veteran
· Another local designation (as defined by the local area needs)