BAF Educational Fund Releases Infrastructure Report: Falling Apart and Falling Behind
WASHINGTON, DC – Building America’s Future Educational Fund – a bipartisan and national infrastructure coalition co-chaired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NYC), former Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) – today released a new report that lays out the economic challenges posed by America’s ailing infrastructure. “Falling Apart and Falling Behind” also provides a comparative look at the smart investments being made by international economic competitors and suggests a series of recommendations for crafting new innovative transportation policies in the United States that will spur economic growth.
“There are always excuses to delay tough decisions, but the time has come for the U.S. to commit to a long-term infrastructure revitalization plan that invests at least $200 billion a year,” said former Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA), co-chair of Building America’s Future Educational Fund. “It should focus on transportation but should also include our water and wastewater systems, our dams, our electric grid and our broadband system. At a time when our nation is crying out for job creation, this plan can produce millions of good-paying American jobs over a sustained period of time.”
“In Washington, everyone is talking about the need to fix the economy, but our long-term economic prospects will only get weaker the longer Congress allows our infrastructure to crumble," said Mayor Bloomberg (I-NYC), co-chair of Building America's Future Educational Fund. "As Congress stands idly by, our competitors around the world are racing ahead – especially when it comes to building modern transportation networks. Washington needs to get into gear transforming our infrastructure or else our economy will be stalling out for decades to come."
"The single most important challenge facing Washington today is making sure that America remains the economic powerhouse that it has been for generations, and to do that, Congress must lay out a bold infrastructure vision,” said former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), co-chair of Building America’s Future Educational Fund. “This issue is as crucial to our future as the national debt and entitlement reform. This report should inspire Congress to take real action on infrastructure and make it a national priority.”
The report explains how international economic competitors are sprinting ahead of the U.S. and outlines the case for creating a blueprint to transition to a high-tech transportation network for the 21st century. The report also contains many sobering statistics detailing how the U.S. is falling behind including:
• U.S. infrastructure has fallen from first place in the World Economic Forum’s 2005 economic competitiveness ranking to number 15 today;
• China now boasts six of the world’s top ten ports – and none of the top ten are located in the U.S. The Shanghai port now moves more container traffic a year than the top seven U.S. ports combined;
• The U.S. has the world’s worst air traffic congestion—a quarter of flights in the U.S. arrive more than 15 minutes late, and the national average for all delayed flights in the U.S. (about 56 minutes) is twice that of Europe’s average;
• There are more than 15,000 miles of true high-speed rail in operation around the world – essentially none of which is in the U.S.;
• The U.S. is one of the only leading nations without a national plan for public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects or a National Infrastructure Bank to finance large-scale projects and leverage private capital.
The final section of the report is a set of recommendations for moving the economy forward through strategic investments in infrastructure including:
• Develop a long-term national infrastructure strategy that makes choices based on economics, not politics.
• Pass a robust transportation bill that focuses investment on projects that will increase economic return and mobility while reducing congestion and pollution. Such a bill will put Americans back to work and make the U.S. more competitive in the global economy.
• Be both innovative and realistic about how to pay (including the establishment of a National Infrastructure Bank) and looking at all long-term revenue generating options including congestion pricing, carbon auctions, fees based on miles traveled, and – once the economy recovers – an updated gas-tax.
• Promote accountability and innovation by setting clear criteria for all funding; encouraging innovation by states and the country’s largest cities through competitive grants; and carefully auditing the results to ensure projects are completed on time, on budget, and yielding promised results.
For the full report and more information, please visit www.bafuture.org/report.
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“Our roads, our bridges……it’s a core function of government. But it’s also an economic development issue.”