It’s all in the news lately – bridges are collapsing, highways are buckling, and roadways are washing out. Let’s face it – our infrastructure is crumbling. Did you know it was over 50 years old?
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 for building the US interstate system. The article in the paper began, “President Eisenhower set into motion a record $33,480,000,000 road-building program today by signing the bipartisan authorization bill that Congress sent him Tuesday. Sinclair Weeks, Secretary of Commerce, immediately announced the allocation of $1,125,000,000 among the states for the first year of what he called ‘the greatest public-works program in the history of the world.’”
Today there is a $2 trillion infrastructure package on the line. Businesses need to step up and fight for approval of this package or we will continue to suffer the consequences of crumbling roadways and bridges. Our infrastructure also includes aviation systems, waterways and ports, which are under maintained and over capacity. Our infrastructure is in such a bad state that the American Society of Civil Engineers rated it a D+ in 2017.
Businesses and their employees are feeling the effects of our deteriorated infrastructure. Statistics show that commuters waste an average of 42 hours/year stuck in traffic – and this adds to CO2 emissions and wastes fuel. Recent storms have led to extreme stress on levees and dams, putting thousands of people at risk. With poor roads, businesses often have delays in customer deliveries. And during the school year, school buses carry loads of children over bridges that are propped up with temporary supports.
The Lansing State Journal says, “These experiences add up to a national crisis. Failing to act on infrastructure makes the U.S. less competitive than 15 of our major trading partners and could cost us 2.5 million jobs by 2025.” The newspaper continues, “For every dollar spent on public infrastructure, we get $3.70 back in economic growth. That’s a phenomenal return on investment, putting an additional $1,400 per year back into the pockets of everyday Americans.”
Forbes magazine says, “Research has proven that taking a healthy, inclusive approach to infrastructure investment could support or create an additional 14.5 million job-years across the U.S. economy and add a cumulative $1.66 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 10 years.”
The time to improve our infrastructure is now. We need a strong, safe infrastructure of transit systems and ports so that we remain a global leader in trade and commerce. We need to propel America forward with a state-of-the-art infrastructure like bullet trains and smart highways.