With the coach and travel industries in the thick of the summer rush, travel and tourism leaders are expressing their concern over the growing strain on the transportation infrastructure, saying it is inefficient, outdated and deteriorating; and that its collapse severely imperils economic stability and job growth.
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This is according to a survey by Building America’s Future and the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), which co-chairs former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, released during a press conference in May.
“It is imperative that Congress takes action to fix America’s crumbling bridges and potholed roads so that the United States can once again be economically competitive on a global scale” LaHood said. “The U.S. travel industry currently ranks 18th in the world, behind such countries as Barbados and Panama. It’s shameful and must be remedied.”
On the day President Obama spoke to the economic benefits of boosting travel within the United States, Dow stated that unfortunately, as it stands, our infrastructure cannot handle even the existing demand on travel.
As the Obama Administration rolls out Grow America, the Highway Trust Fund is projected to go bankrupt in early August, threatening to cancel or put on indefinite hold on thousands of transportation and infrastructure projects. The White House says this would halt nearly 600,000 American jobs and negatively impact tens of thousands of businesses that regularly depend upon the projects Trust Fund investments make possible.
According to the survey, 74 percent say the quality and reliability of infrastructure is extremely important to the success of their business or travel destination. 87 percent believe that America’s infrastructure is in fair to poor shape and needs a great deal of improvement.
Less than 1 percent of respondents say America’s infrastructure is in good shape and needs no improvement.
So, why all the push back from those who serve at the pleasure of the people, by the people and for the people? Pandering to this group, less than 1 percent of respondents, puts Congress squarely on the path of least resistance — one with its own potholes and failing structures.