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It’s Time to Rebuild

02.18.17 - American Highway

Amazingly one of the topics of discussion during the recent Presidential election was the fact that we needed to rebuild our infrastructure across the land. This discussion didn’t lead to a heated debate as much as a bidding war over how much to actually allocate to this project with the number reaching ever higher platforms during discussions. While both parties agreed upon the need to rebuild, both also agreed a great deal of money had to be spent in this area of the country. As one of the topics that was agreed upon we see a huge need to bring our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals to a level that will lead the world.

Why did both parties agree upon a need to build and repair these areas of our country? Right now we have more people driving on the roads than we’ve ever had. This is the result of the low gasoline prices and an economy that has bounced back significantly over the past decade. Overall, we drove more than 3.06 trillion miles during 2015 and another 3.17 trillion in 2016 with this year looking like it will be another record breaker for the miles driven on our roadways.

In addition to the fact that since 1971 we have driven more miles each year than the year before, the current state of our roadways can be graded out at no higher than a D for poor rating. Its estimated that nearly 32 percent of our roadways are in poor or mediocre condition right now and the average age of the bridges around the country is 42 years old. There are 607,380 bridges and some severely congested roads to make it easy to see the toll these parts of our infrastructure have been taking as a beating over the past few decades.

In order to support the driving that’s done on a daily basis, a full $3.6 trillion will need to be invested in the infrastructure by 2020 in order to have just the commuter roads taken care of, not to mention the neighborhood streets. While the movement toward suburban areas several years ago was one that was attractive, the roadways need to improve to continue to support this out of the city lifestyle that so many of us have enjoyed for the past several years. There may be another answer, but it might not be as viable as fixing the roads.

Although improvements have been made to public transportation it seems the routes didn’t follow us out of town at all. Most public transportation still operates mainly within the city limits of the various cities that it supports. While some areas offer parking areas for commuters to park and then take public transportation to their place of work, this still requires them to drive to those parking areas that are typically greater than walking distance from their neighborhoods. If public transportation were increased to offer routes to more remote suburban areas there could be less of need for the miles we’ve been driving on the roads.

As the government looks into the possibility of better public transportation systems, the reality is many of us aren’t going to give up the freedom of schedule that driving our own vehicles offers us. For this reason, we do need to have the investment put to the infrastructure to rebuild and renew roads and bridges across the nation to make sure we can continue to travel to and from work safely and easily on a daily basis. We aren’t driving less and don’t seem to be ready to drive any less than we do now, which requires the investment that will have to be put forth by the government.

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