It’s easy to see how far America’s infrastructure has fallen in recent years. The American Society of Civil Engineers graded U.S infrastructure a D+ in 2016, showing very clearly that we need to take a different approach on how we maintain, improve, and expand this important facet of our society. We can’t push off addressing infrastructure issues until tomorrow – now is the perfect time, with support from both sides of the aisle and a strong national consensus that we want to see greater investment. Infrastructure is an issue that expands into every corner of our nation.
One such issue is how the current state of our road and rail systems are affecting the shipping industry, and our economy. Currently, our highways and railroads are carrying volumes far beyond what they were designed for. As we ship more and more products and commodities from coast to coast, we need to continue to update and expand the infrastructure that lets us do so. Otherwise, congestion will continue to grow, and businesses will steadily lose more and more money. In 2015 alone, the trucking industry lost $63 billion as a result of congested highways.
Additionally, the Poe Lock in Michigan is a key piece of infrastructure that needs greater attention. According to the Department of Homeland Security, if the Poe Lock failed for 6 months then 11 million jobs would be lost. The lock was originally built in the 19th century, and rebuilt in 1968. It acts as the only passageway for raw materials to the U.S. steel industry.
Investing in infrastructure isn’t just about fixing potholes and repairing bridges. Parts of our communities that were built decades ago are truly in need of attention and investment, and prioritizing projects like updating the Poe Lock, or expanding rail and road shipping systems will have rippling positive effects across the nation that will both create and sustain jobs, boost local economies, and help the American economy as a whole.