Washington, D.C. — Patrick D. Jones, Executive Director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) offered the following response to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, Beyond the Grades: Solving the Nation’s Infrastructure Crisis.
“We salute ASCE and its members for their continued efforts to sound the alarm about the fragile state of America’s infrastructure. With this report, it has never been clearer that we need to invest much more in our nation’s future.
“A Greek proverb tells us that ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.’ Today, more than ever before, we must rise to the occasion and do for our grandchildren what our grandparents did for us. They sacrificed some of their present happiness to ensure that future generations would be able to live in a world at least as good, and probably better, than the world they lived in.
“This important and well respected report, which has been updated from 2013, shows little progress when it comes to surface transportation investment. ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card gives a grade of D+ to our overall infrastructure, a C+ for bridges, and a D for roads. This is a strong indicator that we have a lot of work to do to convince the public to open their wallets to improve our nation’s infrastructure. Of the 16 categories of infrastructure examined in the report card, the highest grade, B, goes to rail, probably because of their huge investments in recent years.
“As a nation of communities, we must commit to investing in critical infrastructure that is 40, 50, and 60 years old — and some of it much older than that. We must have an honest conversation about the need to make bigger and smarter investments than we have in the recent past.
“The ASCE report card points out that we invest only 2.5 percent of GDP in infrastructure and that we need to ramp that up to 3.5 percent of GDP. To get there, we need courageous leadership from the president and Congress. Nothing else will be sufficient to convince the American people that we need to invest more — now. At IBTTA, we are proud of the fact that tolling is one of the most powerful and effective tools to ensure that our tolled highways, bridges, tunnels, and managed lanes are well maintained and have the capital they need to make continued improvements.
“The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association and its members stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to rebuild our infrastructure, strengthen our economy, and improve the lives of all Americans.”