Wanted: Infrastructure funding

At a Labor Day rally in Milwaukee, President Barack Obama heralded the White House’s ambitious six-year, $50 billion plan to expand and upgrade U.S. roads, railways, and runways, which, he said, can enable the country to have the “best infrastructure in the world.”

<p>President Obama Announced a Plan to Renew and Expand America’s Roads, Railways and Runways: Infrastructure investments one key way to continue recovery and keep our economy growing</p>

President Obama Announced a Plan to Renew and Expand America’s Roads, Railways and Runways: Infrastructure investments one key way to continue recovery and keep our economy growing

in the News

State of Logistics 2016: Pursue mutual benefit
Automated material handling equipment market is expected to reach $44.68 billion by 2022
Honeywell completes acquisition of Intelligrated
U.S.-NAFTA freight value drops 6.4 percent, reports BTS
Diesel prices see decent gains for second straight week
More News
By ·

At a Labor Day rally in Milwaukee, President Barack Obama heralded the White House’s ambitious six-year, $50 billion plan to expand and upgrade U.S. roads, railways, and runways, which, he said, can enable the country to have the “best infrastructure in the world.”

As LM reported, Obama’s plan is comprised of:
-rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads;
-constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of rail, which is enough to stretch from coast-to-coast; and
-rehabilitate or reconstruct 150 miles of runways along with installing a NextGen system that will reduce travel time and delays.

Make no mistake, at a time when the economy continues to largely stumble, with the occasional snippet of good news mixed in from time to time, more needs to be done to get more people back to work, augment consumer confidence, drive demand and get America back to being the world’s top economic power.

And honing in on transportation infrastructure as a way to get our economic engine truly rolling again seems like a good plan. But as we all know, an ambitious effort such as the one proposed by Obama remains on a “road to nowhere” (thanks, David Byrne) without meaningful funding.

As I have mentioned before, this is where ambition and desire tends to fade and reality sets in. Look no further than the gas tax, the primary funding mechanism for the now-expired SAFETEA-LU reauthorization—which is solvent for the remainder of 2010. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. President Obama has said on more than one occasion that raising the gas tax to increase transportation funding is a non-starter. In this political climate, he knows he has no choice really, which is incredibly unfortunate as it would ostensibly be the most direct and easy way to continue funding transportation infrastructure projects. But, alas, things are often never as easy as they seem.

What’s more, it is apparent that Obama’s proposal is not going to make major inroads with the mid-term elections around the corner.
This was made clear in a Washington Post article published yesterday:

“The calendar is not our friend here, and the Republicans in the Senate aren’t going to let him have a win before the election,” said a staff member on a key transportation committee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the issue. “We really can’t expect any progress this year.”

Hardly surprising, eh? Nor is the article’s reference to data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the gas tax:

“The gas tax has been the primary source of revenue for the federal Highway Trust Fund. Since 1993, the federal government has collected 18.4 cents per gallon, but more fuel-efficient vehicles have contributed to a steep decline in the fund. Five years ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it was falling about $45 billion short of the estimated $222 billion a year needed to maintain the surface transportation system.”

And the beat goes on. What is the best solution for transportation infrastructure funding? There are some great ideas out there from the President and countless others, but all roads point to a dead end without an effective source of funding.

What do you think? Newsroom Notes wants to know.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
B2B Sellers Prefer a Unified Approach for Ecommerce
A new study from Forrester Consulting, commissioned by NetSuite, found that many midmarket, B2B sellers say their ecommerce solutions have contributed to their growth in sales, new customer acquisitions and improved customer relationships.
Download Today!
From the August 2016 Issue
A growing number of low-cost lift trucks offer new avenues for pairing equipment and applications, but less cautious buyers might find that small up-front costs come at a steep price. Selecting the proper lift truck, lift truck tips 2016, Choosing the right Lift Truck
Megatrends in ocean freight
Ocean Cargo Roundtable: What’s in store for 2017?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...

Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....
Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...