The 1787 Plan of Action
Why Is This Important?
First, let us say unequivocally that we are all for spending money on our deteriorating infrastructure. The U.S. transportation system has 12,971,484 miles of highway; 19,639 airports; 181 ports; 8,238 cargo handling docks; 114,244 miles of railroad; 11,607 miles of public transit; 2,558,007 miles of pipeline; 616,096 bridges; and 25,000 miles of navigable waterways.
Every year, this labyrinth carries passengers over 5 trillion miles in their vehicles, 722 billion miles in the air, and almost 39 billion miles by rail. It also transports, literally, a boatload of merchandise. In 2018, the U.S. transportation system moved over 18 billion tons of freight, valued at almost $19 trillion. By 2045, that number is expected to be $37 trillion (read more facts here).
Practically every one of these categories have been neglected for years, and it shows. Big time! It’s bad enough that things are about to collapse, but our outdated infrastructure also makes us look bush-league. We all know you can’t exactly be the shining city upon the hill if everything is falling down.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of C- and estimates it will take an investment of $2.59 trillion over the next ten years to even get us a B. The group also warns that, if we continue to underinvest in infrastructure, by 2039 the costs to society will equal $10 trillion in GDP, over 3 million jobs, and $2.24 trillion in exports.
Our C- infrastructure is yet another textbook example of the importance of being proactive versus reactive. This is happening. We can’t twitch our noses and wish a new bridge to appear, and we can’t afford to keep slapping Band-Aids on gaping wounds. We must mobilize our resources to get these things done...immediately.
We’re not talking about a third world country; we’re talking about the United States of America!
There is no excuse for the world’s largest national economy to lack state-of-the-art airports, subways, railways and ports; sophisticated fiber-optic lines, bandwidth and wireless networks; modern schools, roads, bridges, levees, dams and water systems; hi-tech oil and gas pipelines and electricity-distribution grids; and extensive high-speed rail systems.
Modernizing our infrastructure creates a safer nation, helps revitalize hard-hit sectors like construction and heavy manufacturing, and makes our economy more productive and efficient.
Investment in infrastructure also produces jobs, both directly (jobs involved in the actual projects) and indirectly (jobs created by the need for supplies and support for the projects). This, in turn, sparks a cycle of growth that will eventually create even more jobs — employed people spend money in the economy so more people will be needed to handle the higher demand. #TheButterflyEffect
Additionally, we cannot ignore the fact that our infrastructure is integral to our global competitiveness. These two are intricately intertwined because infrastructure is one of the main things domestic and international companies evaluate when they choose locations for their business operations, not to mention the absolute necessity of safely and swiftly moving the people, goods and services that are already here. Time is money, people! : )
United States. Department of Transportation. “Pocket Guide To Transportation.” 1 Mar 2021
“2021 Report Card For American’s Infrastructure.” American Society of Civil Engineers