Emoji Explains – Why Our Roads, Highways and Bridges are Crumbling

By J.D. Harrison, Senior Editor, Digital Content

Originally published on U.S. Chamber of Commerce site

Congress is currently working on a long-term deal to fix our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges; however, lawmakers can’t agree on how to pay for all the necessary repairs. Here, with the help of Emojis, is a look at why the problem exists in the first place, as well as an explanation of the most sensible, sustainable solution.


Caution SignIn every state, our roads, highways and bridges are falling apart.


SquiggleOne third of our major roads are now in poor or mediocre condition…


BridgeOne third of our major roads are now in poor or mediocre condition…


Unhappy FaceThat means more potholes.


Mad FaceMore traffic jams.


bangAnd more accidents.


BarberpizzaIt also means that customers have a harder time driving to their local barber shop or pizzeria, which can cost those businesses sales.


flowersShower HeadIt means that florists and plumbers have a harder time getting out to their customers, which can cost them business.
TowersTruckBoxIt means manufacturers have a harder time delivering their finished products to retailers and customers, which can cost them time and money.


CarBusTaxiAnd for nearly every company, it means more time that employees spend commuting and less time they spend actually running and growing the business.


TurtleSnailTurtle(On second thought, this might be more appropriate.)


ChartIt all adds up to a weaker economy.


Money BagToiletIn fact, by 2030, the estimated cumulative cost of traffic congestion will reach $2.8 trillion in the United States, according to a recent study – which puts lots of jobs at risk.


SOSFormer U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently summed up the situation by saying: “Our infrastructure is on life support right now.”


WrenchSo, why isn’t there enough money to repair our ailing transportation systems?


PurseWell, more than half of the funding for repairing and replacing our roads, highways and bridges comes from what’s known as the federal Highway Trust Fund.


GasWhen you fill up your gas tank, you pay an 18.4 cents-per-gallon


MoneyIn that way, the gas tax is basically a user fee. The more you use the roads, the more you fill up your tank, and the more you fill up your tank, the more you pay to help keep the roads in good condition. Makes sense, right?


HourglassHere’s the problem. Our user fee hasn’t increased since 1993. That’s a long time ago.


HurdleKeep in mind, 18.4 cents doesn’t go as far today. It won’t buy nearly as much asphalt or as many construction hours at it did in 1993.


Blue CarCouple that with the fact that today’s cars are generally heavier (more wear and tear on the roads per mile driven)…


Tree … yet more fuel efficient (less tax paid per mile driven) than they were in 1993…


Watch… and it becomes clear why we’re running out of transportation funds. In fact, the trust fund will run out of money soon, so the clock is ticking on Congress.
Question MarkSo what’s the solution?


LightHere’s a simple idea: Raise the gas tax.


FFA modest increase in the user fee would basically catch us up to how much we were paying per mile of road used back in 1993, when our infrastructure was in better shape.


ShoeIt would also ensure that there’s funding for construction projects for years to come, rather than kicking the can down the road with another one of Congress’ short-term fixes.


Green TackRed TackThat would mean better roads, highways and bridges, which would help us get from point A to point B more quickly and more safely.


GraphThat would mean a healthier economy.


SmileyAnd happier drivers.


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