By Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, USN (Ret.)
President & CEO, NDTA
Every day, we reap the benefits of infrastructure. Our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, pipelines, inland waterways, railroads and airports all link our communities and enable the efficient movement of products into, out of and within the United States. In a word, infrastructure plays an essential role in transportation. It’s also a key component of national security, as I’ve pointed out in the past.
While we generally acknowledge our infrastructure as critical to national strength and prosperity, there is a growing public awareness that this infrastructure requires significant repair, upgrades and investment. The American Society of Civil Engineers, which provides a report card every four years, recently gave overall infrastructure a troubling ‘D plus’ grade.
One clear facet of the challenge is monetary. Multiple states, including Tennessee, Indiana, Montana and California are addressing transportation-related budget shortfalls with new gasoline tax hikes. South Carolina joined that group last week. Meanwhile, the federal government remains committed to a massive, comprehensive infrastructure plan that Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao expects to unveil in the summer or fall of this year.
Collectively, we look to the civic process at all levels of government to address pressing transportation problems like infrastructure. Individually, we should also take a few moments to recognize the function of transportation and the men and women who make this aspect of modern society and national defense possible.
By longstanding federal tradition, this week we celebrate National Transportation Week. We mark this as a dedicated time to honor the importance, hard work and achievements of the interlocking industries that facilitate our nation’s transportation system.
In the Washington, D.C. area, I’ll be celebrating National Transportation Week with NDTA’s D.C. Chapter during an evening gala at the beautiful Mount Vernon Restaurant Inn. Wherever you are, be sure to thank the fine transportation professionals who keep the country’s business humming – and rolling – along.