January 17, 2018
When it comes to America’s infrastructure, most of us know it must be modernized for sustained economic growth.
How can we get this done?
U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue teased out the outlines of a plan to be released at America’s Infrastructure Summit. The part making headlines is one possible revenue source — raising the gas tax:
Donohue noted, the gas tax hasn’t increased in 25 years and isn’t indexed to inflation. This has put the Highway Trust Fund in a precarious position.
But fixing and modernizing our infrastructure needs a robust plan, covering many facets, Donohue noted:
Because Washington has been unwilling to make tough choices, the nation’s infrastructure has suffered. It “earned” a “D+” grade in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) most recent Infrastructure Report Card. The ASCE estimates that $2 trillion more over the next decade is needed to modernize the system.
A 2017 poll found 72% of all voters support the federal government taking the lead on infrastructure investment.
Business owners and leaders echo these views.
“We need more of a dedicated revenue source for infrastructure improvement to alleviate congestion,” said Clayton Harris, executive director of the Illinois International Port District. “It would allow the increased movement of goods and commodities that stimulates economic growth, helps small business growth, and allows larger businesses sustained growth.”
Peter Bowie, president and CEO, Ellicott Dredge in Baltimore, MD, said, “Whether it’s a road or a port or an airport, more infrastructure investment will be good for everyone, boosting jobs and the economy.”
At Thursday's America’s Infrastructure Summit, participants from business, labor, and the public sector will discuss not only how to pay for improvements, but what kind of workforce is needed to build it, and why doing it is critical for local communities and businesses.
The United States needs world-class infrastructure —we all agree. Getting here will cost money, no question about it. But the benefits gained — less traffic congestion, shorter commutes, and lower transportation costs, a stronger economy — will make it worth it.