During Infrastructure Week 2016, TMAF is sharing the following message from Kevin Burch, TMAF co-chairman and president of Jet Express Inc.
Moving America Forward is a job the trucking industry is proud of and a commitment we take seriously. We pride ourselves in delivering the goods that American communities need to thrive, from groceries and medicine to retail goods and school supplies. And we know that nothing can stop us – not the winter snow storms, not the long hauls, and not the deliveries that keep drivers on the road and away from family during weekends and holidays.
But while we can’t be stopped from delivering on our commitment, there is one issue that threatens to slow us down – failing infrastructure.
This is why our industry movement, Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), is proud to be an affiliate of Infrastructure Week for the second year in a row. Infrastructure Week is a national cause shared by a diverse coalition of groups dedicated to rebuilding America’s roads, bridges, rails, ports, airports, pipes, power grid, and more. This year’s theme is “Infrastructure Matters” – and affiliates like TMAF are setting out to tell the story of what infrastructure means to Americans, our country, and our economy.
Transporting critical cargo to towns and cities in every corner of the country requires America’s 3.4 million truck drivers to travel more than 400 billion total miles across our roads and highways every year. Yet, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), those very roads receive a “D” grade, as nearly one-third are in “poor or mediocre” condition, and one in nine of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient.
To put those low grades in perspective, the ASCE found that by 2020, this deteriorating infrastructure will cost the economy nearly 1 million jobs and hurt GDP growth by $1 trillion. That includes deteriorating pavement and bridge conditions that alone will cost our economy $58 billion per year and the resulting highway congestion that will cost us more than a quarter billion dollars.
The time to address our failing infrastructure is now – and not just to make it a smoother ride for those logging the most miles on the road.
The fact is, if it affects trucking it affects Americans as a whole. “The costs of inadequate infrastructure investment are exhibited all around us,” said a report by the National Economic Council and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. The report added that because of this investment gap, “American businesses pay $27 billion a year in extra freight transportation costs, increasing shipping delays and raising prices on everyday products.”
Fortunately, telling our story is easy for trucking, because when our trucks are moving forward, the nation and the U.S. economy move with it. In fact, the 7 million trucking professionals nationwide contribute $682 billion in revenue every year to our nation’s economy.
As long as we need to, TMAF will stand strong, advocating for infrastructure spending that improves the highway networks most critical to the movement of freight and interstate travel, and prioritizes the safety of the motoring public in the process. We’ll continue to call on our political leaders at the state and federal levels to work with us to close the nation’s infrastructure investment gap.
Our hardworking drivers deserve to deliver America’s goods on structurally sound and safe roads. The trucking industry, the American economy, and you and I are counting on it.