America’s infrastructure is outdated and on the verge of crumbling. In 2013, the average bridge in the U.S. was already 42 years old. Bridges are carrying heavier vehicles and more traffic than they have been originally designed to handle. But the infrastructure problem in America is much broader than failing bridges. The typical urban commuter spent in 2014 an average of 42 hours stuck in traffic. The U.S. roads are not only congested but also full of potholes. The subway systems in many big cities are old and in need for an upgrade. Here is an overview of the problems with American infrastructure.
The root of this infrastructure crisis in America is underinvestment. The main source of funding for subways, bridges and roods is the federal gas tax. But this tax wasn’t increased since back in 1993. It means that, in real terms, the gas tax’s value has fallen by more than 40 percent. A healthy U.S. infrastructure requires a public and a government willing to pay for it as well as competent engineers to fix the current issues.
It’s true that the American infrastructure is plagued by complex and deep problems. However, there is a way out if the public and Washington recognize that world-class infrastructure come with a price. Dealing with this problem cannot be avoided anymore. The United States is falling behind in the new global economy. Vital for economic competitiveness in this worldwide economy is a high-quality infrastructure.
Investment in Infrastructure
Europe invests five percent of its GDP in infrastructure, while the U.S. invests less than two percent. In this context, it appears as crucial the need for the United States to invest more. American policymakers should also rely on the private sector. Frequently, sources outside the government can be a good incubator for good ideas. States and cities and s should allow both the private and the public sectors to submit innovative infrastructure proposals.
A fork in the road has been reached. The United States can allow its bridge collapse, its infrastructure crumble, and its roads grow ever more congested. Or it can grow its economy and allow people to travel more safely and faster by raising the gas tax as a source for funding new infrastructure projects. All the difference will be made by which path Washington chooses.
The only hope stays in funding the country’s waterways, airports, roads, and broadband networks with trillion dollars. Senate Democrats have a plan based on direct investments, while President Trump’s team plans to achieve this level of investment by triggering private spending with tax credits. Finding money is a crucial imperative, whatever the means.