Mayoral Op-Ed: U.S. Needs to Play Catch-Up on Transportation

Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York and Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City say federal dollars are the only way to restore crumbling infrastructure. China and Europe are investing heavily, while U.S. rates are at a 20-year low.
May 18, 2015, 10am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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State Farm

Rates of federal transportation spending have long been on a downward trajectory. This week's Amtrak fatalities, whatever their root cause, highlight a troubling fact: "Spending on infrastructure in the United States has sunk to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product, a 20-year low."

Cornett and de Blasio say a failure to invest puts America further and further behind. "The Department of Transportation estimates that by 2030, it will cost $84 billion to $105 billion a year just to keep the highway, bridge and transit systems in good repair, and up to $170 billion a year to improve conditions and performance. Meanwhile, the rest of the world races ahead. Europe spends 5 percent of G.D.P. on infrastructure, and China 9 percent."

The mayors, speaking on behalf of a bipartisan coalition of their peers, conclude by "calling on Congress to pass a six-year transportation authorization measure that significantly increases investments from the current level of $50 billion a year."

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Published on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in New York Times
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