When we think of America’s transportation system we often think of the roads in our own communities, the interstate highway system, and the trains, buses, and ferries we ride on daily. But it is much more than our individual mode of travel or our local road that makes up this network. There are approximately 4 million miles of roads, 117,000 miles of rail, 600,000 bridges, 12,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways, 11,000 miles of transit (including more than 5,000 miles of rail transit), more than 3,000 transit rail stations, 300 ports, and 19,000 airports that permit us to move about the United States. Much of that infrastructure was built decades ago and the repair and maintenance of that system is falling behind.
Vehicle travel on America’s highways increased by 37% from 1990 to 2010 while new road mileage increased by 4% (TRIP). Inadequate roadways that result in increased congestion cost motorists $121 billion in 2011 in wasted time and fuel. That amounts to $818 per driver (Urban Mobility Report).
Investments in our transportation infrastructure results in job creation. For every $1 billion in federal investment in transportation infrastructure, an estimated 27,800 to 34,800 jobs are created (Department of Transportation, 2008).
A modern transportation system will provide more reliability for goods and people to reach their destinations, boost our nation’s economic competitiveness and enhance the quality of life for all Americans.
Americans households spend 9.8% of their budgets on transportation (National Transportation Statistics, U.S. DOT 2014).
The United States is falling behind other countries when it comes to infrastructure investments. For example, Canada spends 4% of its GDP on transportation investment and maintenance and China spends 9%. The U.S. spends only 1.7%.
Building America’s Future Educational Fund believes that every American, elected official, and business must care about the future of our transportation network.
As an American, these are your roads, your highways, your rail and transit systems, and you deserve the right to enjoy them. As elected officials, it is our duty to ensure the resources and investments are made wisely, efficiently, and transparently.
We will continue to educate those charged with maintaining and building our national transportation system about the benefits to America’s economic competiveness, job growth, and goods and people movement when we make these smart investments.
Mesa, Arizona Mayor John Giles explains why infrastructure investment is important in his community.
- Press Release Former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell Calls for Port, Waterway Strategy in Speech to American Association of Port Authorities Read More
- Press Release BAF Educational Fund Releases Infrastructure Report: Falling Apart and Falling Behind Read More
- Published Report An Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment Read More
About 51% of the generating capacity of the US is in plants that were at least 30 years old at the end of 2010. Most gas-fired capacity is less than 10 years old, while 73% of all coal-fired capacity is 30 years or older.7 Moreover, nationally, 70% of transmission lines and power transformers are 25 years or older, while 60% of circuit breakers are more than 30 years old.