Transportation & Infrastructure

A road in Killington, Vermont is blocked off on September 8, 2011 after Hurricane Irene causes significant damages to the state's infrastructure.

Every day across this country, Americans see bridges in disrepair, congested roads with potholes, and inadequate public transit. They see obsolete rail lines that make our freight and passenger rail service slow and inefficient.

More than thirty percent of our nation’s bridges have exceeded their 50-year design life, and one in nine is structurally deficient. Almost a third of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that we must invest $1.7 trillion by 2020 simply to get our roads, bridges and transit to a "passable" condition – four times the current rate of spending.

“We must invest much more in infrastructure to keep America competitive in this global economy.”

- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Sanders believes we must significantly increase funding to repair our nation's infrastructure for the United States to remain competitive in the increasingly global economy. We cannot expect American businesses to be successful if they are unable to get their goods and services to market and if employees cannot easily and affordably get to work. Investing in infrastructure is also one of the best ways to put millions of Americans back to work in decent paying jobs that cannot be outsourced or off-shored.

Sen. Sanders understands that this problem goes far beyond just transportation infrastructure. We have not kept up with needed improvements to our energy grid, schools, drinking water and wastewater systems, broadband networks and other important aspects of our national infrastructure.

For most of our history, the United States led the world in infrastructure innovation, from a network of canals, to the transcontinental railroad, to the interstate highway system. These innovations gave our economy a competitive advantage and our workers a decent standard of living. Now, sadly, that is no longer the case. The U.S. invests just 1.7% of GDP on infrastructure. Europe invests three times that amount, and Canada invests five times that amount. China invests almost six times our rate of infrastructure spending.

Meanwhile, instead of passing a long-term transportation-funding bill, Congress merely extended current programs through May 2015. As a member of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Sen. Sanders helped draft a new transportation bill that would bring nearly $1.3 billion to Vermont over six years to maintain our roads and bridges. The bill is far from perfect, but it is a strong step towards rebuilding our crumbling transportation infrastructure.

Sen. Sanders will continue to push for this critically important piece of legislation, as well as other federal efforts to rebuild America, create the jobs we need, and to make our economy stronger.