There are few – very few – issues that have as much bipartisan support today as investing in our nation’s infrastructure. We all have experienced dodging potholes while we drive, waiting for a bus that feels like it is never going to come, or being packed like sardines in an overcrowded airport for an interminable amount of time. We have all read the stories about the drinking water crisis in communities with neglected pipes, and seen the news coverage of gas pipeline explosions or levees that break during a flood. Infrastructure affects every single American. We all rely on it, and we all know it is time to build something better.
Roads, bridges, rails, ports, airports, pipes, the power grid, broadband — it is all infrastructure. It affects our daily commutes and our summer vacations. Infrastructure determines if we can drink water straight from our taps and flush our toilets. It brings electricity in to our homes and factories. For decades, the country let deferred maintenance bills pile up and looked the other way while other countries invested significantly more in everything from ports to airports, and from roads to rails. But there has been an awakening about the urgency of this issue, and more Americans support investing in our infrastructure than nearly any other issue right now. All we need is a little political courage out of Washington, D.C. to make this idea a reality.
That is why Tata & Howard is participating in Infrastructure Week 2017. We’re joining hundreds of organizations across the country this week, all raising awareness about this critical issue.
Every year America fails to adequately invest in our infrastructure, the United States becomes less competitive, our economy grows more slowly, and families and businesses lose valuable time and money. The goods we manufacture cost more when they get stuck on congested highways, rerouted around structurally deficient bridges, and stranded at outdated ports. World War II era radar technology and airports at capacity deter U.S. consumers from travelling, annually robbing the economy tens of billions of dollars.
Decades of underfunding and deferred maintenance have pushed our country to the brink of a national infrastructure crisis. We are desensitized to tragedies as though they are normal. Fatal mass transit accidents, toxic drinking water, bridges collapsing, and rivers contaminated with raw sewage are all actually completely preventable and we, as a nation, should declare them unacceptable.
It is time to say “enough.” We can build something better than this. There are examples around the country and the world that show us that it is entirely possible to build something better than this. During Infrastructure Week, we also want to recognize progress. We want to see more partnership and investment going forward. It is the only way to build us out of this hole.
Closing our country’s trillion-dollar infrastructure investment gap demands a strong federal partner to fund large and transformative projects. We are going to need collaboration between the public and private sectors to create innovative solutions. And leaders at all levels need to commit to building a long-term, sustainable plan to invest in America’s infrastructure.
For more information or to participate, visit www.infrastructureweek.org.