Op Ed

Biden Infrastructure Fund Helps Business

Mine is one of many businesses that will benefit from better infrastructure.

By - Feb 17th, 2022 03:01 pm
The Wicked Hop

The Wicked Hop. File photo.

For over 15 years, I’ve been lucky to co-own The Wicked Hop, a restaurant in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Over the years, I’ve watched our city and state burst with growth, as new restaurants, bars, and local businesses become staples in our community.

Like so many of those businesses, we rely on goods from across the state and country – whether we’re bringing in our customer’s favorite ales and ciders, buying fresh produce, or shipping in glassware and silverware. Our business runs on American-made and Wisconsin-made products – we can’t operate without them. That’s why I keep a close eye on our ports. And believe me when I say, we feel every shipping delay.

When I heard that President Biden recently signed his infrastructure plan into law and that Democrats ensured the funding would go to our state’s ports, I knew this deal was going to be a game-changer for business owners like me. By rebuilding our ports, the infrastructure law will help tackle the biggest post-pandemic impact we’ve felt: shipping bottlenecks. What happens in Washington may often seem distant, but this $14 billion investment in our country’s ports will directly help my restaurant get back to a state of consistency and benefit the entirety of Wisconsin’s business owner community.

It’s clear from talking with my vendors and delivery drivers that shipping bottlenecks and delivery issues are a result of years of neglect of our state’s infrastructure. The folks working these jobs are working overtime, often working the job of two or three people. As restaurants begin to regain a sense of normalcy and return to in-person dining, businesses like mine are ramping up at a significant level, which means we’re ordering more products. Decades of outdated infrastructure and dramatically rising demand is a perfect recipe for shipping delays – which is why I’m so thankful for the passing of this historic law.

Wisconsin has seven deep-draft commercial ports to invest in, meaning that this investment will have a huge impact on our state. The investment will rebuild the structurally deficient aspects of our ports and expand their capacity. And the infrastructure law goes a lot further than just ports and waterways: it will invest millions of federal dollars in our roads and bridges too. From cargo ships to trucking companies, this bill will keep products moving across Wisconsin to local businesses like mine in a more effective and safe way. There is no question about it: the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest in our ports and ease shipping delays, keeping my restaurant up and running.

Our infrastructure will not only be newer, but also stronger and far more resilient against the ravages of climate change. In just the last decade, Wisconsin has experienced 16 extreme weather events – costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. This federal bill will ensure our roads, bridges, and waterways are prepared for extreme weather, so our state can continue to grow and succeed.

Wisconsin is built on small businesses like mine and I’m so proud to be a part of Wisconsin’s tight-knit community. Although it’s been a challenge to overcome our state’s aging infrastructure, this federal legislation implemented at the state level, with our priorities in mind, will better every neighborhood across the state.

As a restaurant owner, a father of four, and a born and raised Wisconsinite, I’m so excited about the future impacts we’re going to see from this legislation – from expanding access to the internet to rural communities and ensuring that clean drinking water is available to all families – all thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and those who helped pass it.

Andy O’Neill, co-owner of The Wicked Hop

2 thoughts on “Op Ed: Biden Infrastructure Fund Helps Business”

  1. KFG says:

    Thank you, Andy, for giving credit where credit is due.

  2. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Joe Biden’s $14 billion dollar funding for our country’s ports is a drop in the bucket compared to the $20-$30 trillion dollars he spent as a Senator, Vice President, and President on bombs and missiles dropped on women and children in the Middle East over the past 30 years.

    And now Biden is threatening Russia with American missiles placed on Ukraine’s border with Russia!!

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