LIUNA members build America from our roads and bridges to our transit systems. However, the transportation system that was once the envy of the world has now fallen into disrepair – putting lives at risk and jeopardizing our economic competitiveness. Our needs are great and are far outpacing investment. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated the condition of our nation’s bridges with a C+ and roads received a D. Roads and bridges are also chronically under-invested in – each year falling billions short of what’s needed.
Congress Passes Long-term Transportation Investment
LIUNA applauds Congress for its bipartisan action in passing the Funding Americas Surface Transportation Act, ending a decade of duct-tape approaches to our country’s critical transportation infrastructure. With the passage of this five-year highway bill, our nation will be safer, our economy stronger and good jobs more plentiful. This is a victory for the country and the hard-working members of LIUNA, who have persistently and relentlessly campaigned for passage of long-term investment.
Legislators must now move forward in crafting a transportation policy with a sustainable flow of needed revenue. The current 18.4 cent gas tax, which is the main source of transportation investment, has lost nearly half its value since it was last adjusted in 1993, contributing to our deteriorating and increasingly unsafe surface transportation system. A modest adjustment to the gas tax now would go a long way towards addressing the crisis.
Deteriorating Roads are a Threat to Safety and Quality of Life
The U.S. economy is dependent on surface transportation – $1 of every $10 of the gross domestic product is tied to moving goods and people. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 170,000 miles of our roads are in poor condition. Traffic congestion costs commuters and businesses $170 billion a year due to 4 billion hours in delays, the DOT’s chief economist has determined. The cost is growing at twice the rate of the economy, placing a significant drag on competitiveness. Motorists pay on nearly $400 each every year for gas they waste due to traffic congestion and repairs due to faulty roads.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, roadway conditions are a significant factor in about one-third of traffic fatalities. Rush hour has doubled in urban areas from three to six hours. In 1982, Los Angeles was the only urban area in the U.S. where commuters lost 40 or more hours a year to traffic delays. Now, 28 urban areas face those conditions.