May 17, 2019 - 12:00pm

Pizza, Potholes, and Why We Need to Fix our Infrastructure


Senior Editor, Digital Content

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A Domino's "Paving for Pizza" work crew filling a pothole.
A work crew fixing a pothole as part of Domino's Pizza's "Paving for Pizza" effort.

Almost one year ago, Domino’s Pizza had enough of bad roads messing up their pizzas and began helping communities fix them.

 Its “Paving for Pizza” program sends grants to communities to help fill potholes.

The effort struck a nerve and garnered so much attention that last year, it launched a second phase of the campaign. Recently grants went to Carson City, NV, Fayetteville, AR, Mobile, AL, and West Kendall, FL.

"What was interesting on social media was that this program sparked a lot of viral discussions about potholes and road repairs; people are very passionate about potholes," said Jenny Fouracre-Petko, Domino’s director of PR.

It’s not surprising, people are bothered by bad roads, since America’s infrastructure earned a D+ grade, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Improving roads and infrastructure is especially important to small businesses.

But small businesses aren’t happy with the state of our infrastructure. The Q1 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index found 62% rated local roads and bridges as average, poor, or very poor quality, and 52% felt the same about U.S. highways.

Many of Domino’s Pizza’s 16,000 stores are franchises owned by small businesses. They, along with other small businesses, know good, reliable infrastructure is great for business, and poor infrastructure cuts into their bottom lines.

"We’ve got 70 vehicles, they’re moving around throughout the day. If our workers are sitting in traffic, that’s lost productivity. I’m going to pay them, but I can’t bill for them," said James Strange, vice president of Advanced Electrical Systems in Louisville, KY. "We need our people, our equipment, our tools on the job site. It’s important to be able to move across the city quickly.”

“Paving for Pizza” grants to communities across the country are welcome, but they’re a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money needed to modernize our infrastructure.

We have more than a $2 trillion infrastructure funding gap.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle in Washington know we need to do something about our infrastructure.

Now is the time to act.

The U.S. Chamber has a four-point approach to rebuilding our infrastructure. One component is modestly raising the federal fuel fee.

A deal on infrastructure will be done in a bipartisan fashion. That’s how it’s been done historically: President Eisenhower worked with a Democratic Congress to create the Interstate Highway System and Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil worked together to raise the gas tax in the 1980s.

President Trump and Congress have a historic opportunity to craft a deal that rebuilds America’s infrastructure and helps our economy move ahead for decades to come.

Like a tasty pizza, they should grab it while it’s hot.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.