Global competitiveness and economic and job growth are all severely imperiled by the United States’ collapsing transportation infrastructure, overwhelming numbers of business leaders say in a survey conducted by Building America’s Future and the U.S. Travel Association.
The full findings of the survey were released at a press conference featuring Building America’s Future’s co-chairs, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.
The survey – conducted among members of the U.S. Travel Association – found that more than three-quarters of travel industry leaders say the current state of our transportation infrastructure puts the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries. More than a quarter of survey respondents call it a “strong disadvantage.”
“It is imperative that Congress takes action to fix America's crumbling bridges and potholed roads so that the United States can once again be economically competitive on a global scale. Six of the world's busiest ports are now in China – and none are here in the U.S. America invented aviation, and now the U.S. ranks 18th in the world behind such countries as Barbados and Panama in the industry. It's shameful, and must be remedied,” said LaHood.
“From this new survey, 90 percent believe that if Congress fails to pass a new transportation bill that it would ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ have an impact on their business or destination in the form of increased travel hassles, lost business and lost revenue. In a time where the United States' economy is just getting back on track, we cannot afford additional roadblocks to economic,” said Rendell.
“President Obama is speaking today on the economic benefits of boosting travel to and within the United States. He's absolutely right about that, but unfortunately our infrastructure is struggling to handle the travel demand we already have,” said Dow.
“Within a decade, most of our top 50 airports will experience Thanksgiving-like passenger congestion every week. Labor Day traffic levels will soon be a regular reality on our busiest highways. If we're going to fully capture the economic potential of travel, we must address our infrastructure, and do it now.”
Other key findings from the survey:
- 87 percent of U.S. Travel members believe that America's infrastructure is either in "fair" or "poor" shape, and needing quite a bit or a great deal of improvement. Just 12 percent think America's infrastructure is in "pretty good" shape and needs some improvement. Less than 1 percent of respondents say America's infrastructure is in good shape and needs no improvement.
- 74 percent of U.S. Travel members say the quality and reliability of infrastructure is extremely important to the success of their business or travel destination.
- 76 percent of U.S. Travel members say they do not believe the current state of U.S. infrastructure is positioned to respond to the competitive demands of increased travel over the next 10 to 15 years.
- 93 percent of U.S. Travel members say that greater investments in maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure are needed and all options to fund it should be on the table.
When asked to select the most compelling reasons to invest in transportation infrastructure, the largest number (74 percent) say the best reason is simply that U.S. infrastructure is inefficient, outdated, and deteriorating. The second leading response (65 percent) is that infrastructure is critical to increasing global competitiveness.
The results of this survey come at a critical time for infrastructure and transportation funding in the United States. The Highway Trust Fund is projected to go bankrupt in early August, which will cause thousands of new or ongoing transportation and infrastructure projects to be canceled or put on indefinite hold. Halting such critical projects would cost nearly 600,000 American jobs and negatively impact tens of thousands of businesses that regularly depend upon the projects that Trust Fund investments make possible.