I once missed a job interview in Watts because the hour and a half I allotted for travel across Los Angeles wasn’t enough for the five buses I needed to get there. After two and a half hours, I turned around, defeated.
That was years ago, but President Trump’s infrastructure rollout this week brought the memory back to me.
When politicians talk about infrastructure, people generally think of roads and bridges. But these are just a part of the nation’s infrastructure, and not necessarily the most important part for millions of poor and working-class Americans who have limited access to public transportation, broadband and even clean water. If we’re going to talk about how infrastructure can get America back to work, Mr. Trump needs to think beyond concrete and steel spans.
My own frustration that day in Los Angeles pales in comparison to what many people face. Sixty percent of public transit users are people of color who rely on broken or inefficient systems. Only 62 percent of rural Americans have access to high-speed internet. Imagine what that means to a high school student applying to college or a small-business owner trying to connect with customers. From Flint, Mich., to the Navajo reservation in the Southwest, more than 1.3 million Americans don’t have running water at home, and many don’t have access to clean water at all.