If America fails to adequately invest in transportation infrastructure, by 2020 it will lose $897 billion in economic growth. Businesses will see their transportation costs rise by $430 billion, and the average American household income will drop by more than $7,000. US exports will decline by $28 billion. Meanwhile, global competitors will surge past us with superior infrastructure that will attract jobs, businesses, and capital.
So how can the US get its infrastructure to go from insufficient and declining to safe, competitive, and productive? An obvious place to start is for Congress to pass core bills for surface transportation, aviation, and water programs – at current funding levels. Congress must move forward with multiyear reauthorizations to restore the nation’s highways; modernize air traffic control and improve airports; and maintain American ports, harbors, dams, and levees.
Doing so would enable communities to plan projects, hire employees, and prevent devastating layoffs of existing workers. Reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration alone would help keep 70,000 workers on the job.
Next, America should expand energy infrastructure to support growing needs. A great example is the Keystone XL pipeline to connect Canadian oil sands with Texas refineries. The sooner the project is approved and construction begins, the sooner the US can rake in the benefits of added investment and government revenues, job creation, and more resources to fuel energy needs and keep costs down for businesses and consumers.