Could an infrastructure bill finally be on the way?
Infrastructure in the United States, including roads, bridges, buildings, and more, has caused quite a problem for folks, including truckers and transportation companies.
Namely, the lack of adequate infrastructure throughout the country has forced trucking companies of all sizes to spend copious amounts of money on damaged equipment.
In 2017’s Infrastructure Report Card, which is created by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. received a D grade for its roads alone with an overall grade of D+.
Per the report, roads are often crowded, frequently in poor condition, chronically underfunded, and becoming more dangerous. After decades of negligence, the worsening road conditions have led to a 7 percent increase in fatalities, with 35,092 dying because of roads throughout the country.
In addition, the country lost a total of $160 billion in productivity, as Americans spent 6.9 billion hours in traffic and burned 3.1 billion gallons of fuel in 2014.
The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) also conducted a survey of its members in 2018, where they found that OOIDA members spend about $5,000 annually on damage repairs caused by suboptimal road conditions.
Additionally, the issue is only compounded by the rising cost of repairs sweeping the trucking industry. In fact, from 2008 to 2018, there’s been a 66 percent increase in repair and maintenance cost per mile.
The only way to do away with these issues, however, is by passing a much-needed infrastructure bill. This brings us to a second problem, which is the fact that an infrastructure bill has been promised for years now, but has not come to fruition.
Attempts to push through an infrastructure plan had been made by former President Donald Trump, who proposed a $1 trillion plan over 10 years just last year. Nevertheless, the proposal was rebuffed by both democrats and republicans and nothing came of it, as was expected considering the plan was introduced in an election year.
Trump had promised an infrastructure plan when he was running for the presidency and did take a crack at it in 2016. However, Trump believed that he could use tax incentives to spur private investment in public works, which failed to gain any traction.
Now, with President Joe Biden at the helm, there’s been increasing talk of an infrastructure plan on the way. The Biden camp introduced a $2 trillion infrastructure-rebuilding plan, aiming to “create millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure – from roads and bridges to green spaces and water systems to electricity grids and universal broadband.”
Biden is set to present his infrastructure plan to Congress in February, and infrastructure advocates believe the plan will center around a multiyear surface transportation reauthorization, according to the Engineering News-Record.
The proposal is also supported by Biden’s transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, who specifically highlighted that there is a “bipartisan appetite for a generational opportunity to transform and improve America’s infrastructure.”
Buttigieg will ultimately play a key role in improving infrastructure, though many have questioned his lack of experience in the role. However, he said his vision for American infrastructure is set on “creating millions of good-paying jobs, revitalizing communities that have been left behind, enabling American small businesses, workers, families, and farmers to compete and win in the global economy and tackling the climate crisis,” according to the Washington Post.
Biden, Buttigieg, along with the democratic majority in Congress will have a realistic shot at passing infrastructure legislation as soon as they see fit. Additionally, with the infrastructure bill coming as part of Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan, there could be a sense of urgency to pass it as soon as possible.
Folks throughout the trucking industry, specifically, will be hoping for a hefty investment in infrastructure soon, as it is much-needed to fix America’s roads and decrease the cost of repairs annually.
So, do you think an infrastructure plan is finally on the way? Let us know in the comments or on social media!