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Dusty and AOC Unite in Futile Fight Against Infrastructure Investments

I was close—see #5!

Speaking of infrastructure, how about that big investment in our roads, bridges, rails, water pipes, Intertubes, and other critical infrastructure that President Joe Biden just got through Congress? Thirteen House Republicans helped the country take “a monumental step forward,” but South Dakota’s Dusty Johnson and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez* did not. Dusty and AOC should go on the road together to explain why they voted against $550 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next eight years, including…

  • Roads, bridges, major projects: $110 billion
  • Passenger and freight rail: $66 billion
  • Public transit: $39 billion
  • Airports: $25 billion
  • Port infrastructure: $17 billion
  • Transportation safety programs: $11 billion
  • Electric vehicles: $7.5 billion
  • Zero and low-emission buses and ferries: $7.5 billion
  • Revitalization of communities: $1 billion
  • Broadband internet: $65 billion
  • Power infrastructure: $73 billion
  • Clean drinking water: $55 billion
  • Resilience and Western water storage: $50 billion
  • Removal of pollution from water and soil: $21 billion [Barbara Sprunt, Caitlyn Kim, and Deepa Shivaram, “Biden Says Final Passage of $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Is a Big Step Forward,” NPR, 2021.11.06].

The South Dakota Democratic Party lists the investments coming to South Dakota:

Based on funding formula alone, South Dakota would expect to receive:

  • $1.9 billion to improve highways and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.
  • $124 million over five years to improve public transportation options across the state.
  • $29 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the state. South Dakota will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.
  • A minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 20,700 South Dakotans who currently lack it. 205,000 or 24% of people in South Dakota will also be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.
  • $19.6 million over five years to protect against wildfires.
  • $11.7 million to protect against cyberattacks.
  • $355 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across South Dakota and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.
  • $82 million over five years to improve South Dakota’s airports [South Dakota Democratic Party, press release, 2021.11.06].

That’s a lot of fixing, in red states and blue, all brought to you by a Democratic President pushing a Democratic Congress to finish in less than ten months what the previous Administration promised and failed to deliver during four years of tweeting and tooting. Now let’s watch to see how often Dusty and fellow SDGOP infrastructure blockers Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds show up for ribbon-cuttings for projects the Biden infrastructure bill they opposed builds in South Dakota.

*Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York told Axios that she voted for the infrastructure bill in order to vote “against AOC and the squad tonight.” Dang, if that’s all it takes to get Republicans on board with bipartisan problem-solving, then hey, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, we have our roadmap! You and the squad vote no on President Biden’s proposals, and some Republicans’ overriding drive to “own the libs” will help us own them!


  1. larry kurtz 2021-11-07 09:32

    Virtually nothing happens in South Dakota without federal money.

    In 2015 the City of Belle Fourche applied for and received cash from the feds to build an industrial park beside track owned by the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad even though former Belle Fourche mayor Todd Keller scoffed at the boondoggle.

    Before it was ousted the Trump Organization’s Department of Transportation headed by the wife of Republican former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell awarded more than $5.6 million in grants to upgrade infrastructure and enhance rail safety in the red moocher state that is South Dakota including $2.24 million for the RCPE mainline.

    The move comes after catastrophic plunges in commodities prices, numerous wrecks and water breaches on track owned by RCPE, a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming operating just north of the former Milwaukee line on a nearly parallel trackbed. RCPE wants $84 million of the nearly $1 billion South Dakota is getting from the feds despite nobody in the state’s Republican congressional delegation voting for it.

    At a price of some $50 million (much of it federal dollars) South Dakota chose an Iowa builder to replace the bridge across the Missouri River between Fort Pierre and the cesspool on the east side. Because of the Trump Virus it’s 6 months behind schedule.

  2. Sam@2 2021-11-07 09:40


    You left out all the entitlements or free stuff in the bill for all those that are to lazy to work. Everything free is paid for by someone working,

    This Bill if passed will send inflation to new records while increasing the debt ceiling.

    Time to drop this piece f stupidity.

  3. I’m No Dr. Suess 2021-11-07 10:04

    The infrastructure bill is a bipartisan effort greatly pared down from its original price tag. Sam@2, what would you have to say against infrastructure legislation had it been passed by the previous administration?

  4. WillyNilly 2021-11-07 10:48

    Sigh… I always pause when I hear of Federal dollars being distributed to South Dakota through the ethically challenged Republican leadership because I am pretty sure that some of it won’t go where intended and some will be skimmed off for pet projects. Still, it is a good thing if some of the projects that benefit all South Dakotans can be completed. As for Dusty, he continues to demonstrate his loyalty to party over South Dakotans. A disappointment.

  5. mike from iowa 2021-11-07 11:21

    South Duhkota can’t balance its budget without free money from someone else. Red states take. Blue states give.

  6. bearcreekbat 2021-11-07 11:35

    It seems telling when someone opposing a new law with multipe provisions can claim there are “entitlements or free stuff in the bill for all those that are to lazy to work,” without being able to name a single provision of the bill to support such a claim. It really highlights the false nature of such a claim, but I guess when there is nothing meaningful to say it makes some sense to just spout nonsense in today’s world. Funny thing is, however, spouting nonsense only works with certain groups and, unfortunately for Sam, the audience this tripe might actually mislead does not really include folks who are actually interested in reading informations based on actual facts described by DFP and the majority of the commenters.

    But if I am wrong and there are some provisions in this new law designed to do what Sam has claimed, I encourage Sam (or anyone making similar claims about giving people “too lazy” to work “free stuff,” to identify them to prove my error?

  7. Mark Anderson 2021-11-07 12:22

    Oh Sam, you are right, I’ll take your “entitled” retirement benefits if you wish, and doggone it, you should have to pay yearly tolls on all bridges and roads too. No more of this stuff you continue to abuse, I’m tired of it. Free schools, hooey to that. Water, your cost should skyrocket. I could go on but you know I’m tired of typing and I’m really tired of paying for all your free stuff.

  8. Donald Pay 2021-11-07 13:36

    I would have voted no. Nuclear power “entitlements” are a waste, in so many ways, and red states are the target for the nuclear industry. Gates, Bezos, and the rest of the super wealthy elite are pushing federal subsidies for their projects. I mean, really, do these rich people, who escape fair taxation need our money, too, for their fantasies.

  9. Jake 2021-11-07 14:31

    Sam@2; when you open your mouth and spew forth what you think are words of wisdom, do us all a favor and think first, or try to. You (and your ilk) can yell “Let’s go Brandon” all day long and feel really good and tough as hell, but have accomplished nothing of lasting value to the American people.
    Yourself included.

  10. John 2021-11-07 14:49

    Sam@2: you’re in the cheering gallery, the wrong cheering gallery.
    It’s well known that Cathie Wood (ARK funds) calls for deflation prompted by the technological transformation of this decade. Tony Seba and his think tank, RethinkX forecast the technological transformation will tremendously increase deflation. This week David Rosenberg planted his flag in the deflation camp. The first and last manage billions for investors (disclosure, I have positions in ARK funds).
    Sam@2 what you’re missing from my earlier link to Seba’s August 17 address to the Council of State Governments, East, is that this decade of technological transformation will have instability (Seba’s word). It will have economic and social violence. If you thought the anti-vax, anti-mandaate kooks were a circus – you ain’t seen nothing yet when century and two hundred year industries are disrupted and transformed. This technological transformation will drive down costs like one has never imagined. For example, drive an EV car 60,000 miles and the only service is rotating and replacing the tires. Dealerships and mechanic are going the way of the blacksmith and buggy carriage.

  11. ArloBlundt 2021-11-07 16:33’s a good day to be a construction worker, a truck driver, a laborer, or an iron worker…now lets see some unionization.

  12. grudznick 2021-11-07 16:51

    It is a good day, indeed, Mr. Blundt, to be a hard worker enjoying the fruits of one’s labor. Unions just hurt that. Unions are bad, they are very bad.

  13. Joe 2021-11-07 17:03

    Sam seems to have no concern over the $800 billion in the DOD budget – each year, every year. Gosh, I wonder why.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-07 17:40

    Sam@2: did Eisenhower cause inflation to skyrocket by building the Interstate Highway System? Does ever-increasing military spending cause inflation? Does South Dakota’s ongoing funding of public schools cause inflation?

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-07 17:42

    And Sam@2: aren’t our highways, bridges, and trails open to lazy people as well as ambitious people? What exactly are these freebies for lazy people in the bill the House passed Friday night that you are concerned about? Please be specific.

  16. grudznick 2021-11-07 18:09

    I think the ongoing funding of the ever inflating school funding does add to inflation, Mr. H. We had to put in place a tax just for teachers, to tax everybody for only a small, vocal few, and I bet there are studies at the legislatures which show that caused inflation. Taxing causes inflation, and inflation causes taxing. This is a basic economic fact presented by many.

  17. Porter Lansing 2021-11-07 19:15

    There’re no people “too lazy to work”.
    There are, however, people to whom greedy business owners haven’t yet made an “offer they can’t refuse”.
    Capitalistic profit mongers are on the decline and the “Days Of Working People” are ascending.
    Unions Are Good, very very good.

  18. mike from iowa 2021-11-07 19:30

    Deficits inflate when magats spend like drunken sailors and cut taxes for the wealthy even more. How many jobs can be created by spending a trillion on infrastructure as opposed to giving a trillion to the wealthiest? Which scenario would grow the economy the most?

  19. ArloBlundt 2021-11-07 19:52

    Well…come on Grudz, taxes are what you pay to walk around in this great country.

  20. ArloBlundt 2021-11-07 19:57

    I should add that I like Ms. AOC….I think she very honestly represents her constituents in the Bronx, NYC a lot better than the Dusty one represents the people of South Dakota…and she drives the Republican wingnuts I breakfast with to total distraction…She is a wonderful politician.

  21. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2021-11-07 19:58

    In the years to come, we’ll have to keep an eye on Dusty’s ribboning cutting ceremonies to make sure he is not a part of, or if he is, that he needs to explain why he attended a ribbon cutting for a project which he did not support when he voted against the infrastructure bill?

  22. DaveFN 2021-11-07 20:03

    The School of Mines alone boasts in their Summer/Fall 2021 “Hardrocker” that they recieved 63 million dollars in federal funding over the past four years. If that isn’t a federal investment in national infrastructure I don’t know what is. Complaints that SD graduates leave the state need be scaled accordingly with the amount of SD funding in relation to the amount in federal funding. The diffusion of educated graduates outside the “exterior boundaries of SD” (as the feds say vis a vis our NA reservations) in itself supports national infrastructure.

    The Rapid City “incubator” recently discussed in DFP, is relatively a drop in the bucket. People are in love with the signifiers “innovation” and “incubator,” and “entrepreneur” while overlooking the magnitude of the federal monies received by universities nationwide, and those by faculty with terminal degrees in their fields as well as a wealth of experience that makes entrepreneurial “start up” hopefuls pale in comparison (there are a few exceptions, of course).

    If I may digress, on a related matter, what is puzzling, is that a good share of federal monies are not for “pure” research (as funded, say, by the NSF). Much is in the form of applied research and even so-called “pure” research proposals are required to contain elements of the broader significance to the national infrastructure if not economy. The puzzle is that over the past 4 years, the “pay off” in licensing agreements back to the School of Mines from patents generated, from federally funded research was less that 2% annually.

    For the interested, the SDBOR Factbook may be accessed here:

  23. Richard Schriever 2021-11-07 21:18

    grudz, I am a truck driving road constructing person who works in a closed shop union environment. Unionization assures proper TRAINING and EDUCATION in the skills required to operate today’s huhe, powerful and technologically complicated heavy equipment. It provides SAFETY training and a VOICE in assuring that companies operate fairly and honestly. High production rates, low accident rates and low turn-over (not stiffing workers) makes companies profitable. Unions are PARTNERS in successful businesses, not profit killers. The business I work of is the largest of its kind in North America. That is a status that was achieved from start-up 20 years ago to today – with the partnership of the IUOE. Get a clue.

  24. Joe 2021-11-08 05:09

    The irony is that grudz career and pension were/are funded by taxpayer $$.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-08 06:10

    The infrastructure bill funding provisions include repurposing of unspent pandemic unemployment relief. So, in Sam’s terms, the infrastructure bill actually stops us from throwing money at lazy non-workers and redirects that money to the construction workers, iron workers, and other hard hats who will get more work and more pay building all this new and improved infrastructure. Conservatives should love President Biden’s infrastructure bill.

  26. Francis Schaffer 2021-11-08 07:18

    Is some of the inflation caused by tariffs? Specifically increased tariffs? Wondering about other costs outside of increased wages as a contributor to inflation.

  27. bearcreekbat 2021-11-08 09:37

    I have been keeping my eyes open to discover exactly who Sam is referencing with his claim that there is “free stuff in the bill for all those that are to lazy to work,” as I assume that an honest conservative surely wouldn’t lie about such an obviously easy thing to check. An article in today’s RC Journal described the benefits to families in the bill. The bill provides child care benefits and tax breaks for working families so that cannot be Sam’s target group. According to the Journal, however, the bill also provides for “universal pre-kindergarten for 3- and 4- year olds.”

    Now I get it. Those 3- and 4- year olds are ” those that are to lazy to work,” and they now get free education benefits. Nice catch Sam!

  28. jerry 2021-11-08 09:50

    Bingo Cory, young Cammack seems a perfect example of money for nothing or as Sam number 2 indicates, free money. Brandon wants it back as do I, as well as all of the unspent Covid money. In fact, all of the recipients of this Covid paycheck protection, should be audited. Might surprise most on what they spent it on and if they truly needed it.

  29. Guy 2021-11-10 12:37

    Congratulations to the American People, the U.S. Congress and President Biden for FINALLY passing an Infrastructure Bill to rebuild America. For once, our President and Congress did not cave into the demands of the Radical Left or the Radical Right. It just goes to show what positive things can happen in Congress with bipartisan support!

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