Transportation Infrastructure

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.  Roads and bridges are also chronically under-invested in – each year falling billions short of what’s needed.

Across the country, we continue to witness the failure of our aging infrastructure, with bridges literally falling down, dams giving way, severe airport congestion, and highways unable to handle today's traffic.  The American Society of Civil Engineers has scored America's transportation infrastructure at a D+ which is an unacceptable grade for such a vital component of the American economy.

In 2015, Congress was able to pass a five year, $305 billion highway bill, but it is not nearly enough.  With a $836 billion backlog in needs for highways and bridges alone, it is imperative that Congress find a way to fully fund long-term investments that are adequate to rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

LIUNA applauds the recent mark-up of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021. The bipartisan measure acknowledges the critical role of surface transportation to the economy of the United States and each and every citizen of this nation.

The five-year $303.5 billion investment is an essential component of the overall infrastructure investments that have been promised by both political parties. The 34 percent increase in funding over current investment levels will help states and localities address backlogs in maintenance, make investments in freight corridors and improve safety and congestion.

LIUNA looks forward to working with the Senate to ensure timely passage of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 before the current law expires on September 30, 2021.

Deteriorating Infrastructure 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.

It’s time to stop sugar-coating the issue of America’s crumbling roads and bridges. The deteriorating condition of our transportation infrastructure, with one in four bridges deficient or obsolete and potholes and other poor road conditions contributing to approximately 10,000 traffic deaths a year – coupled with hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

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.”

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