While the US still ranks high as one of the world’s leading countries when it comes to economy, there is literally a gaping hole that seriously needs addressing. Potholes. Yes. America’s roads are in dire need of repair that it’s affecting the country’s economy.
Beyond the problem
But roads aren’t the only problems. It’s the entire US infrastructure that needs an overhaul. Roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports, power grids – the mundane stuff that gets overlook every day that keeps the wheel that is America turning.
Similar to multiple problems, the best way to solve this issue is tackle it one step at a time. So what’s the first step? One of the solutions proposed is to increase taxes in petrol for road repair. Since the Highway Trust Fund’s resources comes from the federal petrol tax which was set up way back in 1956 to pay for new interstates, it would make sense to increase its tax. Why? Because since 1993, it’s been stuck at 18 cents a gallon and its price has dropped to 40 percent in three years, not to mention current vehicles use less of the stuff.
It gets even better. When voters were asked regarding new public works project, three quarters of the time they were in favor, even at the expense of tax payer’s money. Republicans allergic to tax increase should take note.
Infrastructure and America’s economy
How exactly is America’s infrastructure related to its economy? Let’s take New York as an example.
It’s estimated that the products that are being shipped into or out of New York yearly on its transportation infrastructure is more than $643 billion worth. There are also reports stating that America’s most major roads needs repair, and one in nine in about 70,000 bridges fall in the structurally deficient category.
In New York 76 perfect of the daily bridge crossings are deemed unsafe according to data from the National Bridge Inventory.
Are we going to wait for another Minneapolis incident over at Mississippi where the bridge collapsed back in 2007 claiming 13 lives and injuring 145 more? The time to act is now.
However, there are others that are inhibiting this reconstruction. One of which is Andrew Cuomo, New York’s own governor. That’s right. Even with large rallies by legislators and local leaders calling out the governor to increase funding and investment on transportation mobility, Cuomo still holds his ground saying that such investment is “pork barrel” spending.
But the governor isn’t completely against investing infrastructure improvement. He has proposed to allocate $1 billion to replace Tappan Zee Bridge. It’s a step in the right direction, though one bridge is not enough.
Additionally, investing in infrastructure will have its major benefits in the long run. According to a study by HIS Global last December, every dollar placed in state highway, bridges, and transit capital projects returns at least a $1.80 of goods and services created in the economy.
It isn’t too late for America to get back on the race. It just needs to focus on the things that are being overlooked and invest accordingly to sectors that would bring back steam back in its economic engine.