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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis August 12, 2011
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Building America’s Future: Invest in Infrastructure

The U.S. must pass a six-year surface transportation authorization bill and “develop a national infrastructure strategy for the next decade that makes choices based on economics, not politics,” according to Falling Apart and Falling Behind, a report released Aug. 8 by the advocacy organization Building America’s Future, established by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell; and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Our parents and grandparents built America into the world’s leading economic superpower. We have a responsibility to our own children and grandchildren to strengthen—not squander —that inheritance, and to pass on to them a country whose best days are still ahead,” the report emphasizes. However, it noted that the U.S. has fallen behind many other countries around the world in planning and implementing updated transportation networks.

“Unless we make significant changes in our course and direction, the foreign competition will pass us by, and a real opportunity to restore America’s economic strength will be lost. The American people deserve better,” the report states.

The report begins with a section entitled “A Mounting Crisis,” which shows how U.S. infrastructure has slipped from first place in the World Economic Forum’s 2005 economic competitiveness ranking to its current 15th place: “We have let more than a half-century go by without devising a strategic plan on a national scale to update our freight and passenger transport systems.” Next comes “Losing Ground to Our Global Competitors,” focusing on the unprecedented national investments in transportation infrastructure in other parts of the world.

The third section, “Recommendations for Reform,” provides suggestions for how the U.S. can maintain its competitive edge in the 21st century. It promotes a 10-year national plan at a level comparable to that of other nations, which would spur investment of at least $200 billion each year and would lead to the creation of almost five million jobs over the decade—as well as a possible increase in the federal gas tax while indexing it to inflation.

The text of the report is available here.

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