Target: Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx
Goal: Create a level of infrastructure spending more in line with industrialized countries like those in Europe.
Infrastructure investment is at its lowest level in our history and it’s costing lives. Amtrak derailments have gone from two in 2012, to six in 2014, to nine in the first two months of 2015 alone. People are being injured and killed because we refuse to spend appropriate sums on our infrastructure.
We are allowing our infrastructure to deteriorate into the status of a third world nation. It’s very bad policy and it’s completely unnecessary. While Europe spends five percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on infrastructure and China spends an astounding nine percent, the United States has sunk to 1.7 percent of its GDP. It’s gotten so bad that in 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded the country’s infrastructure with a D+.
Clearing a rail track after a major derailment is very expensive. It isn’t just clearing costs–there’s also lost commerce when a rail line is shut down. The longer we put off investing in our infrastructure, the higher the cost to the taxpayer in both money and lives. Bringing the essential Northeast Corridor to a state of “good repair” will cost $21.1 billion alone. Continuing to put it off only raises the bill even higher and allows more people to be injured or die. Congress has ignored funding for safety technology because they consider it too expensive, but what are American lives worth? What about fiery derailments that destroy both infrastructure and lives; what’s that worth?
We need to invest in our infrastructure the way we once did and the way all other industrialized countries do. The longer we put it off, the less of a major power we become. Demand that our infrastructure be maintained with the same investment level as Europe.
Dear Secretary Foxx,
The quality of our infrastructure is at its lowest point in our history. We are allowing this country to quite literally deteriorate and it’s costing lives. We had nine Amtrak derailments in the first two months of 2015 alone and that’s unacceptable. Infrastructure investment is returned many times because it creates jobs and enables the movement of commerce. It also saves lives.
While Europe spends five percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on infrastructure and China spends nine percent, the United States is down to an abysmal 1.7 percent. We can’t afford what this is doing to our competitiveness and we shouldn’t accept what it’s costing in lost lives. The Highway Trust Fund which was once funded for 10 years at a time, is now funded for two months at a time and always threatening to run out of money.
We are constantly operating in crisis mode and it’s got to stop. Infrastructure investment must reflect our real needs before there is a massive tragedy from a bridge or road collapse or something even worse. We need to invest in our infrastructure now.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Agnostic Preachers Kid