SOURCE: AEM | July 19, 2020
A new report by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, shows that the decades-old United States Interstate system is showing significant aging and deterioration after many years of use. Congestion and increased travel, coupled with inadequate funding at both the state and federal level, have resulted in crumbling highways that were not built to serve a 21st century population and global marketplace.
The report, Restoring the Interstate Highway System: Meeting America’s Transportation Needs with a Reliable, Safe & Well-Maintained National Highway Network, was published this week and studies the use, condition, and benefits of the Interstate system. This information comes at a critical time, as surface transportation reauthorization funding expires on Sept. 30. As AEM reported earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, which makes much needed investments in our roads, highways, bridges, waterways, and broadband networks. And as part of a recent I Make America grassroots campaign, AEM is calling on the U.S. Senate to pass S. 2302, the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019.
TRIP’s report finds “that since 2000, travel on the Interstate system, the importance of which has been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, has increased at a rate nearly triple that at which new lane capacity is being added. As a result, 47 percent of urban Interstate highways are considered congested during peak hours. Travel by combination trucks on the Interstate increased 45 percent from 2000 to 2018, nearly double the 25 percent rate of travel growth for all vehicle travel during the same period.”
The equipment manufacturing industry heavily relies on the U.S. Interstate System to move product from factory to market. AEM’s Advocacy Team and Board of Directors has heavily advocated for robust, long-term infrastructure funding. “With the expiration of the FAST Act rapidly approaching, this report reaffirms how critical it is for lawmakers to prioritize reauthorizing a long-term, fully funded federal highway program this year,” said Rod Schrader, chairman and CEO of Komatsu’s North American operations and chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers CE Sector. “Meeting the critical equipment and supply needs of essential industries including construction and agriculture requires a dependable, modernized national transportation network. Equipment manufacturers are working hard to keep these vital industries properly supplied in the midst of COVID-19, and we need lawmakers to do their part to support these essential supply chains now and for the long haul.”
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