The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials began a new public outreach campaign on March 3 entitled “The Benefits of Transportation: The Solutions State DOTs Bring to People & Their Communities.”
Designed to increase public awareness about the multitude of benefits transportation investment provides, this new national campaign uses an interactive online map to highlight specific transportation projects in over 40 states that are reducing travel times, improving safety, protecting the environment, and boosting the economy.
“The professionals working at state departments of transportation know these benefits first-hand because they’re responsible for planning, designing, and building the transportation projects that keep America moving by car, truck, rail, bus, and bicycle,” explained Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director, in a statement.
“This year will be pivotal for transportation because Congress must pass a new surface transportation bill before the current law expires at the end of September,” he added. “The purpose of this campaign, website, and report are to help citizens understand the important connection between transportation investment and the benefits we experience today and into the future.”
For example, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway, and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.
Similarly, the American Public Transportation Association estimates that the total long-term economic effect of “enhanced investment” in transit systems sustained over 20 years is in the range of 3.7 times the amount being spent annually.
“In addition to the general public, we encourage members of Congress and their staffs to use the website to inform constituents about the importance of transportation investment,” said Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation and AASHTO’s 2019-2020 president.
“A wide range of transportation infrastructure projects are included within the report and on the website to demonstrate how these projects are providing real benefits to real people from coast to coast,” he explained.
Other organizations are also launching similar “benefits of transportation” public campaigns.
For example, the Transportation Construction Coalition – a group of 31 associations and labor unions co-chaired by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of America – launched a grassroots and advocacy advertising campaign on March 10 to increase pressure on Congress and the Trump administration to craft a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund and pass a long-term transportation infrastructure investment package.