I believe we need to build an economy that works for everyone, and that starts with making strategic investments in our people, our communities, and our Commonwealth that will form the foundation of economic growth both now and for generations to come.
Building a 21st-century economy starts with building a 21st-century infrastructure. Together, strong public education and modern, robust infrastructure are the backbones of a strong economy. I am dedicated to working with everyone to strengthen public education and ensure that we are building the workforce of the future. You can read my full position on education here.
Infrastructure is the strongest type of public investment available. A report by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics concludes that “the boost to GDP from every dollar spent on building bridges and schools is an estimated $1.59. That is a 59% return on our investment as taxpayers, and it is an investment that we cannot afford to pass up.
Throughout Pennsylvania, our roads and bridges are crumbling. In its most recent Infrastructure Report Card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Pennsylvania's infrastructure a grade of C-. In its report, the ASCE noted that:
- Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the country. Of the Commonwealth's more than 22,000 bridges, nearly one in four are considered structurally deficient.
- Pennsylvania has the most combined sewer overflows (CSOs) of any state.
- The Commonwealth must invest $28 billion over the next 20 years to repair existing wastewater systems, meet clean water standards and build or expand existing systems to meet increasing demands.
- Pennsylvania's rate of 1.3 traffic fatalities per 100 million miles of travel is almost 20% higher than the national average.
This is a threat to our health and safety and an impediment to economic growth and job creation. It is also fiscally irresponsible because the longer we wait to invest in repairing and upgrading our infrastructure, the higher the cost for taxpayers. In fact, after issuing its analysis of the state of roads and bridges in Pennsylvania, the ASCE went on to recommend that Pennsylvania “stop wasting money by waiting.”
I support strong investment in Pennsylvania’s infrastructure not just to save taxpayers money, but to build a robust economy that works for everyone. Strong infrastructure is a benefit to every level of our economy. Upgrading and repairing our crumbling infrastructure will create jobs now, and attract existing businesses to Pennsylvania while encouraging new business start-ups. Simply put, if we want a strong economy, we must have transportation infrastructure capable of moving people goods and services safely and efficiently.