Monday, 25 February 2008
I recently read the results of a study by the National Chamber of Commerce Foundation that attempted to show the linkage between the condition of the nation's transportation system and the health of the U.S. economy and its key industries. The report examined the relationship between transportation investment and long term economic productivity, competitiveness and growth. As a basis, the report expressed the view that the continued underinvestment and business as usual transportation policies and programs will have a detrimental impact on the ability of the U.S. to compete in the world economy. One major underlying fact is that during the next 30 years, the U.S. population is expected to grow by 80 million people.
The manufacturing sector, with fewer employees but more automation, still leads the world in output. The location of U.S. economic growth is shifting; the South and West are continuing to grow and major population areas of the nation are being combined together into massive mega regions. U.S. industries in all sectors are creating lean on-demand supply chains that stretch across the globe. The report concludes that it is time for the U.S. to be much more strategic in planning and investing in the U.S. transportation structure. The study goes on to say, if we do not, our transportation system will become a competitive disadvantage for U.S. industries and it will become harder and harder to sustain the economic growth of our region and the national economy.
At the ASCE Board of Direction fall meeting, we heard a presentation by Mr. Patrick L. Reed, Executive VP and CEO of Federal Express. He presented one shipper's views on our transportation system. Should ASCE create stronger linkages with users who have a stronger voice in transportation public policy and, if so, how should we go about doing it?