Congress has until Oct. 29 to pass the highways bill, which would renew federal infrastructure spending. If it fails to do so, it will be disappointing the majority of Americans, who want them to go a step further in improving U.S. infrastructure.
A poll released by the AAA auto club on Oct. 13 shows that 70 percent of Americans believe that “the federal government should invest more than it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems,” The Hill reports.
The state of U.S. infrastructure was graded with a D+ but the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2013, Fortune reports. This applies to American roads, schools and transit.
Lousy infrastructure impacts American commerce and quality of life. Millions of dollars are lost each year to repairing water main breaks and rail transit congestion, according to Forbes.
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Transportation funding is funded by the federal gas tax, The Hill reports. There has been a deficit in infrastructure spending over the years with projects costing the federal government roughly $50 billion a year with the gas tax only turning in $34 billion. Republicans in Congress have refused to raise the gas taxes to make up for the budget shortfall.
“Americans rely on our nation’s roads and bridges every day, yet Congressional inaction has led to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe conditions,” says AAA President Marshall Doney, according to The Hill. “Motorists are dissatisfied that our national leaders repeatedly have failed to meet the basic needs of drivers across the country.”
The Economic Policy Institute argues that even a modest push to improve infrastructure nationwide could create up to 216,000 jobs, Fortune reports. The ASCE estimates that an serious investment to bring the U.S. up to speed could cost up to a trillion dollars.
The Department of Transportation says that if Congress does not pass the highways spending bill, then the burden of infrastructure costs will have to be shifted to states and local governments, The Hill reports.