At last, Labor Day weekend is here. Americans across the country use this three-day weekend to celebrate their contributions and commitment to work, in whatever form it takes.
Perhaps the most popular way to take advantage of the long weekend is travel. Last year, AAA’s Labor Day Travel Forecast proclaimed that 35.5 million Americans were slated to embark on trips. The vast majority of travelers--85.8%, to be exact--were expected to make their voyages via automobile.
According to TravelAdvisor’s annual survey, in 2016, 37% more Americans plan to travel over Labor Day weekend. This implies that an even higher amount of travelers will hit the open road this year.
Whether trekking north or south, east or west, drivers this weekend are bound to come upon roads and infrastructure in disrepair. In a video for our “Monumental Issues” series, Ed Mortimer, the Chamber’s executive director of Transportation Infrastructure, remarks that 58,000 bridges—nearly 10% of all bridges in America—are structurally deficient.
What crumbling roads and bridges spell for commuters are longer commutes, more dangerous driving conditions, and less time enjoying the long weekend. Beyond Labor Day, deteriorating infrastructure will cost the country jobs, hinder economic progress, put drivers at risk, and cause America to fall behind its competitors.
All of this can be combatted by long-term funding solutions. Mortimer notes, “While Congress did pass a five-year, long-term authorization bill, the job is not done.”
“We need to continue to work with federal, state, and local stakeholders and bring in the private sector to come up with long-term sustainable funding solutions to make sure that we don’t have bridges like this in the United States, to make sure that we have an infrastructure that our children and grandchildren can be proud of, and that we are able to compete and win in the 21st century economy,” he says.
This issue is one that impacts all Americans, which makes it an occasion for bipartisan cooperation. Together, we can determine how best to invest in the future of our roads and bridges. Learn more at fasterbettersafer.org.
And watch additional installments of “Monumental Issues.”