AAA's top executive is calling on President Trump and Congress to put the nation’s disintegrating transportation infrastructure ahead of partisan politics, and spell out funding sources to upgrade the nation's highways.
Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA, released his statement on the heels of President Trump’s State of the Union address in which the president called for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment, but did not make it clear where that money would come from.
“In order to adequately tackle the biggest problems facing our infrastructure, it is going to take cooperation and courage from many on both sides of the aisle,” Doney wrote in his statement.
The statement emphasizes that AAA was disappointed the president did not use the high-visibility speech as a platform to unveil a specific strategy to raise the funds for the large-scale investment, which was originally a campaign promise.
AAA said that U.S. bridges and roads that are in dire condition need to be addressed and urged U.S. Congress to take immediate and swift action.
“Now, it is time for our members of Congress to come together and show leadership by addressing the funding shortfall and providing a sustainable system for infrastructure maintenance and improvements,” said Doney.
Approximately 40,200 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016 — a 6% increase over the year prior, according to the National Safety Council. Experts say failing roads and bridges are only making American drivers more vulnerable behind the wheel.
Rebuilding and rehabilitating the transportation infrastructure will require significant investment, but must remain a top priority, according to AAA. However, the dilemma over how to pay for improvements has remained unsolved for decades. State officials have testified about the real needs on the ground and the shortfall of funds.
One stopgap move mentioned in Doney’s statement is a nominal increase in the federal gas tax. This would provide an immediate stimulus to the Highway Trust Fund and help rebuild transportation in America, while giving the government more time to address long-term funding solutions to meet future transportation needs, according to AAA.
AAA will continue to support increased investment that will improve and modernize the nation’s infrastructure.