By Kevin Burch
May 13, 2019 at 5:00 am ET
We depend on reliable infrastructure to get ourselves and our families safely to our destination every day. Whether it’s the highway we take to work or our children’s schools, or the road we travel on to the doctor’s office and the grocery store, we rely on safe and maintained roadways. But after years of neglect, much of our infrastructure is now outdated and in poor condition. Our roads and bridges need critical support and we can’t keep waiting to invest – our economy and safety depends on it.
Despite poor road conditions and the traffic that results from it, 3.5 million professional truck drivers travel America’s roads every day. Trucking professionals travel over 462 billion miles each year to make on-time deliveries to every corner of America. That’s because more than 80 percent of American communities rely solely on trucking for the delivery of their goods, including the gas in our car, food in our fridge, supplies in our office and medicine in our cabinet.
But faulty infrastructure threatens to slow down the industry and all of America. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 1 of every 5 miles on our highways is in poor condition. More than 1 in 8 bridges are considered functionally obsolete, which means that they can’t serve the current traffic demand. Congestion and traffic, which result from poor and inadequate infrastructure, are also problems. The ASCE found that more than 2 in every 5 miles on our interstates are congested, which costs Americans $160 billion in wasted time and fuel each year. In fact, the average commuter wastes 42 hours a year in traffic, costing us an average of $1,600 annually. Poor roads and congestion also have a very personal impact because life won’t wait when it comes to missing out on important life events.
Each year, a diverse coalition of 500-plus transportation and infrastructure organizations and companies join together in support of Infrastructure Week and its message: #BuildForTomorrow. Trucking Moves America Forward is proud to again be an affiliate and supporter of Infrastructure Week to advocate for rebuilding and modernizing America’s infrastructure.
Support for infrastructure investments goes far beyond our diverse coalition. The American public supports increased infrastructure spending, too. According to an April survey from Pew Research Center, over 3 in 5 in Americans (62%) support funding increases to rebuild our highways, roads and bridges. This is a priority with bipartisan support with most Democrats (64%) and Republicans (57%) in support of increased infrastructure spending.
While there are debates in the Capitol over the best way to fund infrastructure projects, our federal lawmakers agree that rebuilding our roads and bridges should be a priority. A long-term and well-funded transit and highway bill is critical and lawmakers must work across the aisle to pass a bill this year. The cost of waiting only continues to increase.
Without trucks and a strong network of roads, highways, bridges and tunnels, there would be no deliveries and our lives, businesses and the overall economy would come to a halt. The trucking industry, our businesses and economy, and our daily lives depend on structurally safe and sound roads and bridges. We cannot keep waiting to address our nation’s infrastructure gap. The time to #BuildForTomorrow is now.
Kevin Burch, co-chairman of Trucking Moves America Forward and president of Jet Express Inc.
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