The linkage between transportation investment and economic development is quite strong. The underlying macroeconomic rationale is clear, and individual companies understand the benefits of good transportation as noted below in several case studies. That is why many government and industry leaders are pointing out the need for a renewed focus on addressing a crisis in transportation infrastructure. We simply are not keeping up as a nation, from either a marine, air travel or highway standpoint. That is why national political and business organization leaders are saying it is time to come up with a solution to transportation investment problems.
For instance, while not calling for a federal tax increase, former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta said in July 2006 that America is losing $200 billion per year, or $900 per adult, due to freight bottlenecks. Mineta adds that consumers are losing 3.7 billion hours and 2.3 billion gallons of fuel per year sitting in traffic jams. These are major economic losses that transportation investment can help eliminate.
Another leader who has addressed the infrastructure funding question is former Michigan Governor, and current President of the National Association of Manufacturers, John Engler. Governor Engler understands the potential economic benefit of transportation infrastructure investment. He was recently quoted as saying he was:
part of raising the fuel tax in Michigan (in 1997), and not once did I have to be apologetic about it or on the defensive, because the state’s economic analysis demonstrated the improvements paid for by the tax increases were a good investment for Michigan.
Nationally, a number of business organizations have tried to point out the relationship between the transportation system and economic development.