Early in February the American Trucking Association’s Infrastructure Task Force met in Washington with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to press for a long-term solution to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. We applaud the effort.
The association’s plea for infrastructure improvements comes shortly after a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that nine percent of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient and highways and transit systems will require a $926 billion investment for repair and modernization.
The Trump administration has vowed to invest heavily in the nation’s infrastructure and there appears to be bipartisan support. Our businesses and many of our fellow citizens are daily being harmed by long delays, unsafe conditions, and poorly maintained roads and bridges that damage their vehicles, delay the transport of their goods and increase the cost of operations.
There is no mistaking that our nation’s freight transportation network has been neglected and is in sorry shape.
Even as supply chains and freight volume expand, the infrastructure continues to break down, failing our industries and the citizens we serve.
There is a pressing need for a wide-ranging and long-term overhaul of our bridges, roads, dams, rail beds and ports. The signs are all around us:
- In Northern California mid-February, roads were closed and more than 100,000 people were evacuated as a result of dangerous structural damage to the Oroville Dam. As a result, highway closures halted freight movement on Highways 70, 99 and 149 — major truck routes — for six days.
- The Delaware River Bridge between Pennsylvania and New Jersey was closed for weeks this year when painters discovered a fracture that destabilized the structure. Bridges were also closed for structural problems recently in Texas, Georgia, Florida, Delaware and California.
- Highways in some parts of the nation are littered with potholes and hampered by poorly designed systems that snarl traffic causing long delays. Ask any driver who transits or delivers in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York.
- Across the nation there is also a serious truck parking crisis that is costing time and money as truckers search for parking spaces to take their required 10-hour rest periods off road. According to the Wisconsin DoT, the average over-the-road driver spends 56 minutes a day looking for a place to park that is safe and accessible. That is costing the average driver an annual $4,600 annually. Parking spaces have been eliminated or are simply not plentiful enough, despite studies by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calling for better and more convenient parking.
We know we are not alone at ICAT Logistics Detroit recognizing the need for an infrastructure overhaul. For our part, we will support the efforts of organizations like the American Trucking Association and also appeal to our representatives to make infrastructure improvements a high priority beginning today.
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