May 14, 2019 - 1:00pm

American Infrastructure: The Cost of Inaction


Vice President, Transportation and Infrastructure

Executive Director, Supply Chain Policy

bloomberg_highway_ramp_alexandria_va_1200px.jpg

Contractors work on a highway ramp under construction in Alexandria, VA.
Contractors work on a highway ramp under construction in Alexandria, VA.

We witnessed history recently in Washington – Republicans and Democrats finally agreed on something.

That something? The need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure – to the tune of possibly $2 trillion.

The business community applauds this commitment. Not just because bipartisanship is sorely needed in Washington, but also because our nation’s roads, highways, bridges, airports, sea ports, mass transit, water infrastructure, and high speed Internet desperately need this level of investment.

We all experience the frustration of sitting in traffic on our way to work, or driving over potholes that knock our wheels out of alignment. These are common experiences that cost us time, money, and peace of mind.

For the business community, these frustrations over bad infrastructure are compounded because they take away from their ability to serve their customers, i.e., you. Every wasted hour in traffic, every truck taken off the road from potholes or other surface damage mean delayed deliveries to you or money that could be invested in creating more jobs.

This is why it should be clear that infrastructure = competitiveness. It’s no secret that the Chinese are investing billions of dollars into roads, bridges, railroads, high speed Internet, and more. Why are they doing that? Because they learned from us that a superior transportation network brings down the cost of moving goods and people, which means their businesses benefit and so do their citizens.

But it’s also no secret that we aren’t following our own advice. Business leaders and policymakers alike often relish in the importance of good infrastructure, but we struggle to put words into action. Now is our chance to make that happen. If we fail to act, it could cost businesses $7 trillion and destroy 2.5 million jobs by the year 2025.

Inaction is an action, and it’s one we can’t afford to take any longer.

The business community is ready to get our hands dirty and work with policymakers to make the rubber meet the road. To put words into action. So we call everyone – government, industry, consumers, liberals, conservatives – to join the conversations going on right now during Infrastructure Week.

And hear about this important issue and more at Global Supply Chain: Future Trends taking place at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on May 16.

More Articles On: 

About the Authors

About the Author

Ed Mortimer Headshot
Vice President, Transportation and Infrastructure

Ed Mortimer is vice president of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

About the Author

John Drake headshot
Executive Director, Supply Chain Policy

John Drake is executive director for supply chain policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.