The U.S. is one of the world’s most developed countries, but the nation’s infrastructure is rapidly falling behind. The massive network of roadways and other transportation veins that crisscross the country and facilitate the U.S. economy is deteriorating. That’s bad news for the countless industries that rely on the nation’s infrastructure every day and could become a serious safety concern for the average U.S. citizen.
Infrastructure problems have already started to cause costly and dangerous issues for citizens, and the nation’s lawmakers continue to take gradual action. It’s clear infrastructure projects will be an enormous part of the U.S. construction industry in the coming years. While the war over how to fund these projects continues, construction companies need to consider ways to improve their efficiency and create compelling bids.
Current Funding Is Insufficient
The issues with America’s infrastructure funding stretch back several years and exist on a national and local level. Nationally, many problems have to do with how the country acquires money to fix roadways and other pieces of national infrastructure. The National Highway Trust Fund is the main source of funding for road and bridge repair projects for highways, and it simply does not bring in enough money to complete all the work that is needed.
The Trust Fund primarily gains money through a tax levied on every gallon of gas sold to consumers. While this funding method makes sense from a practical standpoint, because it charges people for their use of the roads, it has some practical flaws that have left the Fund without the money it needs. The amount of tax placed on gas has not increased, but the amount of gas people buy has changed substantially. Increasing gas prices during the past several years encouraged people to limit their time on the road, and increased sales of fuel-efficient cars.
That meant less money entered the highway trust fund, despite rising prices for necessary construction projects, according to Rep. John Lewis, D-GA.
Where Things Stand
The highway fund was set to run out of money on May 31, but legislators stepped in and granted additional money. These types of stopgap measures have been used in the past, but a comprehensive plan for infrastructure funding will need to be enacted soon. Luckily, the sorry state of U.S. infrastructure is more apparent to citizens than ever, which could push lawmakers to act.
In a recent interview with NPR, the head of a major U.S. construction firm voiced disappointment with the current state of U.S. infrastructure, saying it was in “crying need of repair.” As these voices grow louder, the chances of improved highway and infrastructure funding improve.
The Need for Efficiency
Regardless of whether additional funding goes to the nation’s decaying infrastructure, construction companies who specialize in these types of projects should prepare for projects that arise as a result of infrastructure problems or needed repairs.
A small example of possible problems comes from Los Angeles, which has been hit with repeated floods resulting from aging water lines, according to the Los Angeles Times. These sudden issues will continue to occur, and construction organizations need to be ready to deal with emergencies as well as bid for work on the projects the highway fund can currently fund.
In both cases, portable storage solutions can be a valuable tool. Mobile Mini can typically dispatch a container within 24 hours, and can provide highly customized solutions for specific work site needs. The security and convenience provided by portable storage makes a workplace safer and more efficient. That should cut contractors’ overall costs and make them an appealing option for any infrastructure project.