Is this transportation's year?

Author:Buzby, Mark H.
Position:PRESIDENT'S CORNER
 
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Though there appears to be general agreement on both sides of the congressional aisle that infrastructure investment is needed, formidable challenges lay ahead to prioritize the need, identify the funding, and especially for people in the way of the projects, a willingness to endure the significant disruption in day to day life that could occur.

Among President Donald Trump's earliest Cabinet nominations was Hon. Elaine Chao for the post of Secretary of Transportation. Ms. Chao's vast experience in the transportation sector--her family's shipping business, her service as Deputy Maritime Administrator and Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission under the Reagan administration, serving as Transportation Department Deputy Secretary in the Bush 41 administration, and most recently as Secretary of Labor in the Bush 43 administration--make her arguably the most qualified person to hold this post in many years. Not surprisingly, her nomination and subsequent confirmation by the Senate were widely applauded by the transportation industry.

Clearly the top of Secretary Chao's "To Do" list will be to come up with a plan to execute the President's pledge to dedicate $1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years to a major overhaul and modernization of our nation's aging transportation infrastructure. Highways, bridges, airports, rail systems, ports, and the infrastructure that connects it all stands to benefit from this shopping spree--once funding is identified from a combination of federal funding and public-private investment. Though there appears to be general agreement on both sides of the congressional aisle that infrastructure investment is needed, formidable challenges lay ahead to prioritize the need, identify the funding, and especially for people in the way of the projects, a willingness to endure the significant disruption in day to day life that could occur.

For those of us in the defense transportation world, infrastructure modernization has important national security implications. Our nation's internal lines of communication--highways, rail, inland waterways, and information exchange--are as vital to our ability to mobilize forces and sustainment as they are to ensure that our economy is supplied on a daily basis. Similarly, our sea and air ports of embarkation are as vital to moving our forces overseas as they are to taking the family on vacation. We all need to be ready to articulate the importance of these infrastructure improvement...

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