People and goods must be able to move efficiently, reliably, and safely if a nation is to brag about its first-class infrastructure. If the United States continues to grow its population then the problems we face today with congestion, gridlock, collapsing bridges, failing levees, and increasing carbon consumption will only get worse.
Americans waste 4.2 billion hours and 2.8 billion gallons fuel a year sitting in traffic – equal to nearly one full work week and three weeks’ worth of gas for every traveler. The national impact of crashes in 2003 was $230.6 billion (2.3% of GDP) according to U.S. DOT. (By way of comparison, Medicare annual costs in 2008 were just over 3% of GDP.) American households spend 17.6% of their budgets on transportation (the second largest expense after housing). America’s poorest households spend more than 40% of take-home pay on transportation – a figure that has increased 33% since 1992.
We cannot – and we will not - let that happen.
If we can get our goods to and from our ports that means lower costs, more sales for our businesses, and increased economic growth.
If we can ensure that our streets are safer for our communities and families, then more people will be able to get to their homes, places of work, and schoolswithout worry.
If we can strengthen our levees, dams, power grid, and other critical infrastructure then we will avoid disasters that will cost lives and billions of dollars while providing reliability to millions of Americans.
If we can give people more transportation options and reduce congestion on our roads, rails and airports, then people will have more economic opportunity and a better quality of life.