Desperate to put legislative points on the scoreboard by year’s end, congressional leaders have decided to enact a tax overhaul that loads another $1.0-1.5 trillion on an already spiraling national debt. So the initial opportunity for a debate about how carbon revenue could supply that new revenue appears to have passed.
The next opportunity to promote a carbon fee could be a bill to invest in the nation’s ailing infrastructure. No one doubts the need to make such investments. The U.S. currently has a D+ on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ infrastructure report card, and ASCE estimates that all levels of government will have to invest an additional $2 trillion over the next decade if we’re going to avoid falling further behind. The ASCE grades infrastructure in 16 interconnected categories, including the energy grid and our water systems. All are vitally important if our economy is to remain healthy and if we are to compete with other nations.