Insufficient Infrastructure Funding Impacts U.S. Mobility and Companies Such as UPS

Infrastructure Needs Movement from Federal Leaders

“Goods don’t stop at state borders,” offers Jensen. “Transportation networks don’t stay wholly within or move intrastate and you look at the United States Constitution and see that the role of interstate commerce is very clear. … And we need a strong federal program to support that goods movement. Any kinds of impediment that prevent goods moving from one state to another are problematic from an economic perspective and from an operational perspective and, again, large companies that work in the goods movement industry realize that we need a strong federal program.”

According to Jensen, many members of Congress and elected officials support a strong federal infrastructure program. But he adds that “some think we should take this and devolve it back to the states and let the states have the lead role and responsibility. And to their credit, some states have done some interesting, unique and creative policy changes in recent years, but the reason the states have done all of this creativity and the out-of-the-box thinking and programs is because of the federal government’s paralysis in this area.”

Declining infrastructure is a national issue that cannot be easily truncated, despite the dysfunction in the nation’s capital. “Our transportation system is a necessity, not a luxury, for every American,” says Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition Executive Director Ed Mortimer. “Not addressing how we sustainably fund it, modernize it, prepare for tomorrow, and make it the world’s best is shortsighted and, quite frankly, very risky. No policymaker should want this to happen on his or her watch.”

Mortimer also says that transportation infrastructure proponents emphasize the need to use innovation and technology to modernize infrastructure.

Jensen shares that an intermodal movement from a port to rail regularly being slowed down, final-mile deliveries being tardy, a small business or a consumer at home consistently receiving a “widget” or item later than planned can all affect American businesses and commerce because too many redundancies or inefficiencies raise operating costs.

“We do need a strong federal program — it’s critical — and we continue to support that and our large customers understand that as well. We’re hoping as we move forward that the Congress and the current Administration will stick to that point and move forward on having the lead role on transportation policy being led by the federal government,” says Jensen.

As Jensen works in the nation’s gritty advocacy and lobbying world, and Marshall deals with drivers hundreds of miles away, UPS moves on. In essence, the company is one of countless corporations left holding the bag of American infrastructure policies and funding that leaders provide our communities and spheres of commerce.

“The fundamental funding mechanism for surface-transportation investment and infrastructure in our country is structurally broken — how we fund the Highway Trust Fund, and how we pay into the Highway Trust Fund — and we are in this current deficit mode where we take in billions of dollars less than we spend, or that we need to spend annually, just to keep our roads up to a state of good repair, let alone to invest [for the future] and as our economy grows, the infrastructure deficit problem exacerbates and gets worse,” observes Jensen. “Everyone is in favor of economic growth. We all know that, and everybody on Capitol Hill — Democrats, Republicans and everyone in between — is in favor of economic growth, but we need to figure out a new and better way of how we fund and structure our infrastructure investment for the benefit of safety, the private sector, and the benefits of mobility and quality of life [for the public] as well.”

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