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Policy Implications

 

“Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure”: A Need for Policy Reform

The ASCE report, released in July 2011, paints a picture of a very different America in the future. If investments in surface transportation aren’t made in conjunction with significant policy reforms, families will have a lower standard of living, businesses will be paying more and producing less and our nation will lose ground in a global economy.

The nation’s deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs, and suppress the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $897 billion in 2020.

As part of ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, ASCE identified five Key Solutions that illustrate an ambitious plan to maintain and improve our nation’s infrastructure:
Increase federal leadership in infrastructure to address the crisis.

  • Promote sustainability and resilience in infrastructure to protect the natural environment and withstand natural and man-made hazards.
  • Develop national and regional infrastructure plans and complement a national vision and focus on system-wide users.
  • Address life-cycle costs and ongoing maintenance to meet the needs of current and future users.
  • Increase and improve infrastructure investment from all stakeholders.
  • In the transportation sector specifically, ASCE supports the following actions:
  • Establish a new process at the federal and state levels that includes performance metrics and implementation strategies for transportation projects to ensure that they achieve national objectives and deliver value to the American public.
  • Enact a multi-year surface transportation authorization bill with dedicated and reliable revenue sources upon which long-term public and private sector investment commitments can confidently be made.
  • Adopt a sustainable user – fee approach as the financial foundation of our nation’s transportation program, and look to innovative financing programs such as Public-Private Partnerships, Build America Bonds, expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, and an infrastructure bank to augment the federal investment. ASCE supports a variety of revenue streams including an increase in the motor fuels tax and eventually transitioning to a vehicle miles traveled system.
  • Develop strategies to expedite the current regulatory process at the local, state, and federal levels to move critical projects through quickly and filter out ill-conceived projects, to ensure that performance metrics are met.

Surface transportation infrastructure is a critical engine of the nation’s economy. It is the thread which knits the nation together. To compete in the global economy, improve our quality of life and raise our standard of living, we must successfully rebuild America’s public infrastructure.