Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure
With our energy grids failing, our sewers leaking, our roads crumbling, and interest rates at historically low levels, now is the time to reinvest in America. Even in the depths of the Great Depression, we invested money into public works that led to the post-war economic expansion. Infrastructure investments spur economic development by making areas safe and attractive for new businesses, while simultaneously creating thousands of jobs. Research conducted by the World Bank indicates a 10 percent increase in infrastructure spending directly leads to a 1 percent increase in GDP.
I believe there is a critical need for Congress to address our country’s crumbling infrastructure. America requires a robust transportation infrastructure to compete in the global economy, and the current state of our roads, bridges, and railroads reflects decades of neglect. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reports that more than 25% of bridges in the United States either need significant repairs or are handling more traffic than they were originally designed to carry. In addition 32% of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing U.S. motorists who are traveling on deficient pavement $67 billion a year. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that these poor road conditions play a role in more than 14,300 traffic fatalities annually.
That is why I supported the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on in December of 2015. I voted in favor this legislation, which provides $281 billion in funding and reauthorizing highway, bridge, transportation safety, and public transit projects for the next five years. It is time for Congress to stop passing short-term extensions and give our state and local governments the tools and the stability they need to move infrastructure projects forward. Too many communities are suffering from aging roads and bridges and I am pleased that this bill will provide the first step to rebuilding our country’s transportation portals and help put Americans back to work.
I am extremely happy to have had the opportunity to assist the City of Akron in receiving a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in 2016. This program affords state and local governments to apply for federal investment in our nation’s roads, rails, and ports. While simultaneously improving infrastructure, the TIGER grant program serves as an important component for job creation and economic development across the nation. The TIGER grant helped Akron make enhancements to major connections within Akron’s downtown area, and provide support for both local and global businesses located in the Akron downtown. Akron is quickly becoming a global hub of innovation, attracting international biomedical technologies and companies that are looking for help in commercializing their produces and expanding into a global market and this TIGER will help the City of Akron continue to move forward and grow.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I understand the importance of the continuing fight for our infrastructure’s needs. From this position, I will continue my efforts ensuring that our transportation and infrastructure systems our effective and safely serve the American people.