Investing in highways is the quickest, most efficient way to create jobs and restore the economy, American Trucking Associations Past Chairman Charles “Shorty” Whittington told President Obama at the National Jobs Summit recently.
“We must make a long-term commitment to highway investment in order to give construction companies certainty that when they hire new employees or buy new equipment, the investment will pay off,” said Whittington, president of Grammer Industries in Grammer IN. “This can’t be achieved through a one-time shot in the arm. We need a multi-year investment.”
Trucking is a $660 billion industry, transporting nearly 70% of all freight tonnage moved in the United States. Moreover, the industry employs directly or indirectly nearly nine million people in the nation, or one in 15 civilian workers.
The recession hit the trucking industry particularly hard, as truck shipments dropped 25.5% from March 2008 to April 2009. Since the low point in April 2009, the number of loads has risen only modestly, and recovery remains fragile.
“Infrastructure spending makes US businesses more competitive. Every dollar invested in the nation’s highway system yields $5.40 in economic benefits as a result of reduced delays, improved safety, and lower vehicle operating costs,” said Whittington. “In fact, if highway bottlenecks were eliminated the trucking industry could save $19 billion every year. That’s more money we can invest in putting people to work and buying new equipment.”