The Transportation Challenge

Apr 8, 2008

The U.S. Chamber, in partnership with Americans for Transportation Mobility, released a report today which studied "the linkages between the capacity and performance of the nation’s transportation system and U.S. economic productivity, competitiveness, and growth"

The report, "The Transportation Challenge - Moving the U.S. Economy", concluded:

The U.S. transportation system must keep pace with the national and global economic transformation and the subsequent challenges this presents for freight movement and passenger mobility. Unfortunately, the U.S. transportation system is neither modernizing nor expanding to meet the changing and growing needs of both people and businesses. While the performance of the U.S. transportation system erodes, our global competitors are building new infrastructure at a staggering pace. If the United States fails to meet the transportation needs of its key industry sectors, the transportation system will increasingly become a competitive disadvantage for the nation’s businesses and a brake on economic growth.

Much of our nation’s economic activity is based in our metropolitan areas. The 100 largest metropolitan regions in the United States account for just 12% of the land area but contain 65% of the population, 69% of all jobs, and 70% of the nation’s GDP. The largest 100 metropolitan areas also serve the majority of our transportation activity, handling 72% of all foreign seaport tonnage, 79% of all U.S. air cargo tonnage, 92% of all air passenger boardings, and 95% of all public transit passenger miles traveled. Urban congestion across all the modes is becoming a huge strain on our metropolitan economies.

Long-term underinvestment in transportation infrastructure is having a negative effect on the ability of the United States and its industries to compete in the global economy. Every funding and financing option must be considered in order to address the enormous problems of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. However, increased investment alone will not solve the transportation challenge of moving America’s economy. Piecemeal policies and programs will not be adequate in the face of rising international competition, nor will incremental changes to current transportation laws be sufficient to address the breadth and depth of our transportation problems. To meet the mobility needs of individuals and businesses, it is time to strategically plan and invest in the U.S. transportation system to combat congestion and connectivity problems.

Now is the time to develop a robust, thoughtful, and comprehensive plan to build, maintain, and fund a world-class 21st century infrastructure. We cannot afford to delay.

Read the Executive Summary and Full Report.

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