Teamsters Support Infrastructure Safety


Our nation’s infrastructure is rickety, outdated and desperately needs upgrades. America’s roads are in dire need of repair, costing the economy more than $100 billion annually in lost fuel and time. The country’s railroads are laughably obsolete and plans to upgrade them are pigeon-holed in a bureaucratic nightmare. Why is this situation so severe?

The most important reason for this is the policy surrounding infrastructure dollars is significantly outdated. The gas tax, the primary financial mechanism for this, is just over 18 cents per gallon and has been since 1993. Fuel efficiency in vehicles has been rapidly increasing, thus fewer coins are going into the Department of Transportation’s coffers since we are using far less gas than a few decades prior.

The fiscal elephant on the road won’t get any smaller though: it is estimated that our infrastructure needs an investment of $3.6 trillion dollars by 2020.

Another roadblock to solutions lies in how transportation funding is implemented. Recently, Congress has taken up the practice of funding the very basic functions of government at the last possible minute. This also applies to transportation funding, which is absolutely crippling for any positive momentum in terms of infrastructure.

Real infrastructure improvements rely on long-term planning, timelines that stretch over multiple years, rather than just lurch from month to month. Without stable funding, it is impossible to plan projects that are sorely needed.

Investment in this area of our society is needed now. The return on investment is massive and it’s easy to see why—safer roads will lower insurance costs for drivers, putting more money in their pockets and the regional and national economies. Likewise for individuals in areas prone to severe storms or flooding, strong levees mean their home insurance will be much less expensive.

Regional rail systems save folks money on their commute and drives up property values, increasing property tax intake for the municipality of residence. It creates scores of American jobs.

The list of economic benefits goes on and on.

Unions like the Teamsters take a great deal of pride in our country. We’re proud to build what makes America work and want to get more workers on the job making our infrastructure the best in the world. It’s time for a bipartisan solution to do so.