Senate Democrats

Economic Recovery Plan Makes Needed Investments in America’s Future

The need to invest in the nation’s infrastructure has never been greater. The Senate’s debate of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act comes at a crucial time given the state of America’s neglected roads, bridges, and mass transit systems. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we will help repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and set our economy on a stable foundation for future prosperity while creating jobs and revitalizing the economy in the near term. There is no time to waste in making these critical investments in America’s future.


According to One Estimate, The Nation’s Infrastructure Requires a $2 Trillion Investment. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the nation needs a $2.2 Trillion investment in its infrastructure over the next five years. According to the Society, “all signs point to an infrastructure that is poorly maintained, unable to meet current and future demands, and in some cases, unsafe. Since the last Report Card in 2005, the grades have not improved. ASCE estimates the nation still stands at a ‘D’ average. Deteriorating conditions and inflation have added hundreds of billions to the total cost of repairs and needed upgrades. ASCE’s current estimate is $2.2 trillion, up from $1.6 trillion in 2005.” [American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009 Report Card]

More than 26 Percent of the Nation’s Bridges are Structurally Deficient or Functionally Obsolete. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, more than 26 percent, or one in four, of the nation’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. While some progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of deficient and obsolete bridges in rural areas, the number in urban areas is rising. A $17 billion annual investment is needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions. Currently, only $10.5 billion is spent annually on the construction and maintenance of bridges. [American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009]

One Third of the Nation’s Major Roadways are in Poor or Mediocre Condition. According to one prominent transportation research group, thirty-three percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. [TRIP: Key Facts About America’s Road and Bridge Conditions, August 2008]

The Nation’s Mass Transit Systems Require At Least $20 to $35 Billion Annually through 2025. The demand for mass transit is greater than this country has seen in generations. In 2007, Americans rode public transportation over 10 billion times, the highest level in 50 years and a 31 percent increase over 1995. From 1993 to 2002, mass transit ridership increased 21 percent, a trend that is expected to increase 3.5 percent every year until 2028. But as the use in mass transit has soared, systems are starving for funds to cover maintenance and investment needs. Many have been forced to raise fares, cut service and borrow to cover maintenance needs. To maintain the current condition and service level, mass transit systems will need at least $20 to $35 billion annually through 2025. [Statement of Edward Wytkind President, Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO, 4/16/08]


According to One Transportation Research Group, State Transportation Departments Have Over Five Thousand Highway and Bridge Projects ‘Ready to Go.’ State transportation departments have 5,280 highway and bridge projects worth $64 billion that can be under contract within 180 days of the approval of additional funding. An additional 736 transit projects totaling $12.2 billion are ready to begin within 90 days if funding is made available. [TRIP Press Release, 1/14/08]

Currently There are Over 5,000 ‘Ready to Go’ Transportation Projects Around the Country. According to a survey conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, there are more than five thousand “ready-to-go” projects worth $65 billion. Transportation infrastructure projects are considered “ready to go” because they could be under contract within 180 days. [AASHTO Press Release, 12/5/08]

According to One Estimate, There Are Over 700 ‘Ready to Go’ Mass Transit Projects Across the Country. As of January 13, 2009, 227 public transportation agencies responded to a national survey conducted by the American Public Transportation Association. The survey found 787 “ready-to-go” projects with an estimated cost of $15.9 billion. These projects would create and sustain more than 440,000 new jobs in the coming months. [American Public Transportation Association, 1/13/09]

37,000 Jobs Are Created for Every $1 Billion Invested in Transportation Projects. Former transportation secretary Norman Mineta said, “As a former secretary of Transportation, I know that for every $1 billion that is spent on transportation projects, an average 37,000 new jobs will be created, with the aftermath of these construction phases typically creating 5,000 to 6,000 permanent jobs. [Roll Call, 11/20/08]

Ø       The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Could Create Over 1.7 Million Transportation Jobs. The Senate Economic Recovery measure appropriates $46.13 Billion in transportation infrastructure. [Appropriations Committee Report to Accompany S. 336]