“Getting people to work, to their homes or to their schools on safe, reliable roads is not a luxury or a convenience – it’s a basic necessity that government needs to perform.”
Washington, DC – May 8, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined Democratic colleagues to demand that Senate Republicans develop a long-term funding solution to adequately address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The Republicans’ current plan continues flat funding, and would leave thousands of roads and bridges unrepaired and stagnate job growth. In Connecticut alone, nearly 1,500 bridges would not receive necessary repairs under the Republican’s current plan. Blumenthal questioned the Republican’s plan, saying:
“It’s spring, and spring means potholes. Nothing is more basic than fixing potholes. If Congress were the city council of most American towns, they would be run out of town for failing to fix potholes.
“Basic structural failing is the sign of government success or failure. Getting people to work, to their homes or to their schools on safe, reliable roads is not a luxury or a convenience – it’s a basic necessity that government needs to perform. And fixing potholes is a symbol of the kind of roadwork that needs to be done across America – on I-95, which connects Florida to Maine. We are interconnected because of these roads. They bind our society together, they take people to work, to school, and our railroads are the same kind of necessity.
“Two years ago, almost to the day, a train derailed in Bridgeport. Thirty lawsuits have been filed. Tens of millions of dollars will be paid in those lawsuits to people who were injured. The lesson here is: invest now, or you will surely pay later in injuries, in loss of jobs and time and fuel, and in failing to fulfill a basic mission and responsibility of government.
“Now, the Republicans are talking about a patch, and we all know what a patch means on a pothole. It means it will last maybe a few months, and then you will have the same hole that destroys the tires and chassis on cars and creates the kind of distrust and lack of confidence and loss of faith in government.
“The Republicans failure to address this basic responsibility is the height of failing to keep faith with a function of democracy, performing a basic necessity: patching this problem is no solution. States cannot order contracts with the prospect or promise of funds in the future and a temporary patch now – it just doesn’t work.
This is more than just about economic results or about getting to work, it’s about basic safety. Unsafe roads will cost this nation in dollars and lives.”
Blumenthal was joined by Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
Highways and bridges face an $808.2 billion backlog of investment needs, including $479.1 billion in critical repair work. The United States needs $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2020 to bring infrastructure to a safe and reliable state of “good repair”. [DOT, ASCE]
Americans spend 5.5 billion hours in traffic each year, costing families more than $120 billion in extra fuel and lost time. American businesses pay $27 billion a year in extra freight transportation costs, increasing shipping delays and raising prices on everyday products. Underinvestment impacts safety too. There were more than 33,000 traffic fatalities last year alone and roadway conditions are a significant factor in approximately one-third of traffic fatalities. [White House, 7/14]
Investing in our transportation infrastructure would create millions of jobs. According to a study by Duke University, expanding federal funding consistent with U.S. DOT’s request to improve conditions and performance of transportation infrastructure would result in over 2.47 million jobs, or 58% more jobs than current funding levels, and over $404 billion in total economic impact. Infrastructure investments average a 15 to 25% economic return. That is, for every dollar invested in infrastructure, the economy grows by $1.15 to $1.25 [CBO, 2/14] [Alliance for American Manufacturing, Duke University]
Without a robust, long-term transportation funding bill, all 50 states will see a cut in infrastructure funding from what is needed.
Josh Zembik (DC) – (202) 224-6452
Josh_Zembik (at) blumenthal.senate (dot) gov
Elizabeth Benton (CT) – (860) 729-3589
Elizabeth_Benton (at) blumenthal.senate (dot) gov