Transportation

Upgrading Highway Infrastructure Essential

March 11, 2014
By Terry O'Sullivan

Washington, DC  – Laborers Union President Terry O'Sullivan has been consistent in his position that  Infrastructure and transportation projects need dedicated sources of revenue as a phased-in hike of the federal gas tax, which has stayed stagnant since 1993.

"For too long, the duct-tape approach by Congress has destabilized the construction industry, stalled projects, cost jobs and slowed our economy," said President Terry O'Sullivan.

The average bridge in our country is 45 years old, dangerously close to the average 50-year lifespan. Typically, 25 bridges a year collapse in the U.S. Every dollar we invest now could save $14 later due to higher costs caused by further deterioration.

"Adjusting the gas tax remains the most reliable, common-sense means of bridging the gap between needs and investment. The gas tax has been stagnant for two decades while needs and construction materials costs have increased. A phased-in increase will be enough to fuel our nation's Highway Trust Fund before it runs out of gas and allow our nation the time it needs to develop alternative, longer-term solutions, such as vehicle miles travelled fee, innovative financing tools and other solutions," said O'Sullivan.

The trust fund, which gas tax revenues fuels, is projected to run out of money by August, right in the middle of construction season. It has around $9 billion left.  Without new revenues, such as an increase in the federal fuel tax or through alternative tax proposals, our transit systems, highways and bridges will continue to decay and we will harm commuters and businesses, and idle millions of good jobs.

"While the knee-jerk reaction of some in Congress has been to reject adjusting the tax, abundant polling shows the American public will accept paying pennies more if they are assured the resources will make the roads, bridges and transit they use every day safer and more modern," concluded O'Sullivan.

March 10, 2014

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