Transportation & 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. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that we must double our rate of spending simply to get our roads, bridges and transit to a "passable" condition over the next five years.
- 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. Meanwhile, Europe spends close to twice our rate, and China spends close to four times our rate. It is no wonder the World Economic Forum now ranks our roads and bridges at 12th in the world, down from 7th just a decade ago.
As a member of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Senator Sanders helped draft the five-year highway bill signed into law last year. This legislation will deliver nearly $1.1 billion to Vermont to improve the state’s roadways. It also includes several other provisions authored by Sanders that benefit Vermont, including making sure our state is eligible for a new competitive program for major projects, and lowering the cost of borrowing federal funds for rural projects. Senator Sanders also secured a provision to start the process of creating a national network of recharging stations for electric vehicles. The bill is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.
Senator Sanders has also introduced the Rebuild America Act, which would make a historic $1 trillion investment over five years to modernize the infrastructure our economy depends on. This legislation not only would address a growing backlog of badly-needed repairs, it also would put 13 million Americans to work at decent-paying jobs all across the country.