TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
OpinionLetters

Rep's brave vote helps pass bill

Subway riders at Manhattan's Canal Street Station on

Subway riders at Manhattan's Canal Street Station on Tuesday. The infrastructure bill will allow New York City to make necessary investments in roads, bridges, and transit.  Credit: Getty Images/Michael M. Santiago

We need more leaders to walk the walk. That’s what Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) did by voting for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package ["GOP backers of bill can make it a badge," Opinion, Nov. 12].

I’m a Democrat, and Garbarino is my congressman. I live in Sayville and work in Wantagh. When I retire, I’ll have spent the equivalent of 55 days just sitting in traffic. The abrupt narrowing of 11 lanes from three major roads heading east to three lanes onto Sunrise Highway in Oakdale defies reason. The merge has several names, such as Dysfunction Junction, Malfunction Junction, The Scourge, etc.

Many talk about bipartisanship, crossing party lines to do what’s right for voters. But when it’s time to risk the ire of party hard-liners and vote with the other party, we mostly hear crickets.

Two hundred Republicans voted against the bill. It’s shameful when you consider how our crumbling roads undermine the economy and quality of life. Without the 13 GOP yes votes — including Garbarino’s and those of three other New York Republicans — the bill would have failed.

Now New York is expected to receive $11.6 billion for highways, $90 billion for drinking water and $685 million for airports. Thank you, Rep. Garbarino, for walking the walk.

— James J. Bertsch Jr., Sayville

A reader claims we do not need these bills, and when he cites the cost, he uses the old right-wing fear term "socialism" ["Congress’ massive bills are wasteful," Letters, Nov. 9].

Yes, the cost of maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure is expensive. But the cost of not maintaining and upgrading will be far greater.

Long Island is the site of the world’s first limited-access superhighway, Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, built with private funds. Perhaps the reader would prefer to drive on what’s left of this capitalist parkway rather than the "socialist" government-built-and -maintained roads that we currently enjoy. Unfortunately, even with excessive usage tolls, no one could afford to maintain that "capitalist" road for more than a few years.

Our "socialist" parkways and interstate highways have served us well for many decades, and will continue to serve us for many more — unless we decide they’re too expensive to maintain.

— Leonard Cohen, Wantagh

The people who called President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Social Security and President Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare bills socialistic are now putting the same labels on President Joe Biden’s pending $1.75 trillion Build Back Better legislation.

According to President Theodore Roosevelt, the role of government in a capitalist society is to be a referee to ensure a level playing field between labor and business.

Beginning in 1980 and continuing for the next 41 years — with the aid of government — the field has tipped sharply toward big business at the expense of labor’s middle and lower classes.

As a result, income distribution has skewed sharply to the top 1%, creating the greatest income inequality since the Great Depression. The Build Back Better legislation is a start by government to correct this imbalance and reverse the sharply tilted playing field, by repairing and expanding the social safety net.

This bill, coupled with the recently passed infrastructure bill, will bolster America’s competitive position in the international arena.

— Mike Cacace, Smithtown

I am getting tired of the right crying "socialism" at every turn. The people crying this apparently have no idea what socialism is. Socialism is an economic system where the means of production are owned collectively by the state. The United States has never embraced socialism. The closest we came was in 1912 when Eugene V. Debs got 6% of the vote.

When the right yells "socialism," they are really talking about what the Southern Democrats were promoting after the Civil War. Those politicians were opposed to allowing Black men to vote. They feared more voters would vote for items that redistributed their wealth. They feared regulation of businesses and greater taxation. Today’s Republican Party is the latest reincarnation of those politicians.

The truth is these policies are the outgrowth of President Abraham Lincoln’s "of the people, by the people and for the people" vision for this country, a vision that still is popular among Americans.

The "right" uses the word socialism to scare people, making them think of communism. It is typical fearmongering, a favorite tactic of the extreme right.

— Scott Diamond, Levittown

Even former President Donald Trump boasted about his intention to build infrastructure — he just couldn’t get the Republican Congress to go along.

All appropriations bills are "spending bills." I wonder if the reader, who sees no need for investment in infrastructure, has driven on a crumbling bridge or highway in the past few years?

The reader also asserts, "Most of the money in these wasteful bills are  for the left. " Are roads and bridges "for the left"? Are railroads? Broadband? What about the electrical grid? Is that also "for the left"? These are all parts of vital infrastructure whose improvement will benefit everyone. Many Americans would do themselves and the country a service by learning the facts.

— Richard Schloss, E. Northport

It always amazes me when I read an opinion that is not fact-based but is untrue political fodder. These important infrastructure bills will give the middle class and poor relief, and they will help almost everyone who lives in this country. They certainly are not directed at left or right Americans. I can only assume the reader must be part of the 1% who have the need to hold onto their money at all costs, or he would most certainly think differently.

And there will be no burden on anyone’s grandchildren because they will be paid for with taxes on wealthier people, the very rich and corporations (so they can pay their fair share — which they have not been doing for years). That won’t be like the tax cuts from the previous administration that drove up the debt burden with little thought of the costs or repayment. Obviously, he hasn’t recently driven on the Long Island Expressway or he might just change his mind.

— Carolyn Newson, Riverhead

Since a reader is so proficient in arithmetic, I thought I’d offer relevant statistics ["Debating the infrastructure bill," Letters, Nov. 10]. About 333 million people live in the United States. If each of us paid $1 a day, that would total about $120 billion per year, or $1.2 trillion in the bill’s 10 years. Fully paid!

And another letter writer believes that no readers would buy a home without hiring a lawyer to read and understand a complicated contract. That is exactly what Congress does with complicated legislation.

— Dennis Dunne, Selden

Columns