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U.S. Chamber Releases Updated Transportation Performance Index

Monday, July 18, 2011 - 8:00pm

‘There is an Opportunity to Rebuild America Today to
Support the Economy of Tomorrow,’ Kavinoky Says

WASHINGTON D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce unveiled its updated Transportation Performance Index (TPI) today to reveal that it had spiked to the highest level ever due to the economic downturn. The TPI quantifies how well transportation systems are meeting the demands of the nation and outlines a series of reforms to modernize our transportation policy.

“By all accounts, the nation’s transportation networks continue to languish.” said Janet Kavinoky, vice president of Americans for Transportation Mobility for the U.S. Chamber. “The Chamber is the first organization to ever measure the correlation between the quality of transportation systems and economic growth. The results in this report underscore the challenges we still face today.”

The data was released at the conference Infrastructure: What We Want; What We Need, which was keynoted by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant and former National Incident Commander for the BP/Gulf Oil Spill Admiral Thad Allen.

In 2009, the latest year data was available, the TPI spiked upward to 56.6 above the 2008 level of 52.82, which is the largest improvement in a single year since 1990, the first year of the index. However, this upward result is primarily due to the fact that fewer people and goods were using the highways, rails, waterways, and airways in 2009 than in previous years.

“The improvement of the TPI is not sustainable and does not represent a long-term trend,” Kavinoky said. “It is due to the economic downturn, rather than strategic policy and regulatory reforms or new investment.”

The 2011 TPI Update outlines how to reform and modernize transportation policy. It recommends a strategic orientation of policy and investment around performance, and highlights areas where there is significant pressure in terms of population growth, high levels of development, and limited access to aging infrastructure as particularly in need of investment. The Chamber also called for Congressional action on major transportation authorization bills, asking for them to deliver on policy and program reforms as well as direct funding, federal credit resources, and incentives for creating a pipeline of projects appropriate for public private partnerships and direct private sector investment.

“There is a real opportunity to rebuild America today to support the economy of tomorrow,” said Kavinoky. “Our infrastructure must focus on supporting international trade and interstate commerce, regional and local economic development, and an efficient and productive workforce. The approaches to prioritizing, planning and delivering projects, and then operating and maintaining facilities, need to support a fast-paced economy where technology gives individuals and organizations high expectations for increased precision, real-time information for planning, and on-the-fly decision making.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.