Businesses and employers know that good infrastructure is critical to a strong economy and long-term prosperity. Ohio’s transportation networks are critical state assets that drive economic growth, jobs, safety, mobility, and trade – all of which directly impact our ability to compete worldwide. It’s no surprise, then, that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce joined 41 other state chambers to urge Congress to make transportation infrastructure investment a top priority.
In a letter to congressional leaders, we outlined the need for Congress to act now to prevent this key resource from deteriorating any further. Federal infrastructure warranted a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers and an estimate that it would take $3.6 trillion in investments to address key weaknesses by 2020. This shocking number becomes less so when we see what China, India, and Europe spend on infrastructure—5%-9% of gross domestic product—compared to the United States’ 2.4% of GDP.
While we are hopeful that Congress can work to develop a solution, whether it be through the Highway Trust Fund or another design, Ohio has not allowed the fate of our infrastructure to sit in Washington’s hands. In 2014, voters broadly supported State Issue 1, a ballot issue that renewed the State Capital Improvements Program that tackles road, bridges, sewer, and other infrastructure projects. Gov. John Kasich has also been proactive by bonding the Ohio Turnpike in 2013—a widely supported innovation that will address more than 40 projects across Ohio, some which have been delayed for 20 years.
The ability to cheaply, efficiently, and safely transport goods, services, and people is critical to Ohio’s economic growth, job creation, competition, and ability to attract and retain businesses. Much work remains to be done on America’s transportation infrastructure, even in addition to state efforts like Ohio’s, and we hope that the 114th Congress will listen to the nationwide coalition advocating for investment and planning in infrastructure.