During his address at an American Association of Port Authorities event in Mobile, Ala., on Oct. 25, Building America's Future Co-Chairman Ed Rendell stated that billions of dollars worth of economic activity in the United States is at risk if goods cannot be reliably transported to and from the nation's ports.
The United States needs to focus on the economic impact of its congested and aging infrastructure system, said Rendell, according to a Building America's Future press release. The former Pennsylvania governor called for federal action to support reform measures and foster a robust, long-term infrastructure plan.
"The bottom line is that delays in freight movements impose real costs on businesses that reduce productivity, impede our competitiveness and increase prices for consumers‚" Rendell said.
Many U.S. ports were built to be in tune with the last century's economy, without sufficient intermodal access for increased container traffic, he said. Citing a recent Society of Civil Engineers report, Rendell said a nearly $16 billion investment gap exists in meeting the needs of the nation's ports and inland waterways.
Activity generated by ports affects roads, bridges, railroads, the environment and economy, so federal policy makers should make port improvements a priority, Rendell said, adding that the United States is the only industrialized nation without a comprehensive freight strategy.
"In 2005, the World Economic Forum ranked U.S. infrastructure No. 1 in the world. Today, we are ranked No. 14," he said. "If we continue to put off critical infrastructure investments, we will only fall further behind the rest of the world."
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