Blog: The High Cost of Doing Nothing on Infrastructure Investment

Overall spending on America’s public infrastructure is stuck in neutral and going nowhere fast, according to a new study.

The National Association of Manufacturers released the study, which concludes that current levels of infrastructure funding are undoubtedly critical to support ongoing investments. Maintaining the status quo, however, will not be enough to turn around the nation’s failing grade on infrastructure and move the U.S. economy toward a more competitive future.

Most troubling is probably this little factoid from the study: Investment in highways, roads and bridges fell 3.5% each year from 2003 to 2012.

The economic analysis (which was conducted by Inforum at the University of Maryland) reveals that a “targeted and long-term increase in public infrastructure investments from all public and private sources over the next 15 years would increase jobs by almost 1.3 million at the onset of an initial boost, and grow real GDP 1.3% by 2020 and 2.9% by 2030.”

The study comes at a critical juncture for the nation’s transportation investment future. While recent congressional action on the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) has ensured the immediate solvency of the fund, the Fund will be back in the red in May, unless lawmakers come up with a long-term solution.

To demonstrate to Washington policymakers the groundswell of public support for repairing, rebuilding, and revitalizing America’s aging transportation system, the U.S. Chamber has relaunched the FasterBetterSafer Campaign. The Campaign, which is led by the Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition, is a nationwide effort by business, labor, transportation organizations, and concerned citizens that supports increased federal investment in transportation.

The diverse members of the Coalition are joined together in the common belief that the United States needs a transportation system that moves people and delivers goods in a safe and timely fashion. Unfortunately, the nation’s transportation system continues to decline and deteriorate, jeopardizing Americans’ safety and quality of life, the economy, and the environment. The cost of continued inaction is too high. Improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure is a national problem and must be a national priority.

The coalition is calling on Congress to seriously consider a long-term revenue solution this lame duck session, with the goal of creating—and seizing—the opportunity to act before year end. Time is short and the consequences of inaction are high.

As part of the Campaign’s effort, a new website has been launched at www.fasterbettersafer.org.  It includes information on transportation issues, current legislative developments, important research and reports, and the latest transportation news. Visit today and let Washington know that you support increased investment in transportation.

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