The U. S. Chamber of Commerce last week introduced the Transportation Performance Index, which is a new statistical tool that rates the performance of the nation’s transportation infrastructure against the economy as a whole. The Index is composed of 21 indicators that measure transportation performance by availability, quality of service and its ability to sustain future growth.
Between 1990 and 2008 the index grew by 6 percent: However, the U.S. population grew by 22 percent, passenger travel grew by 39 percent and freight movement increased by 27 percent. The fact that demands are outpacing the growth of the index is creating challenges and would indicate that the index would decline in the future.
“Future projections are grim,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue. “If we pursue business as usual for the next five years, the index will fall by 8 points.”
In rolling out the index last week, Donohue called for policymakers and lawmakers to rethink the debate over transportation infrastructure from a “scattershot and selfish” approach to one that’s driven by the performance of the entire transportation system, according to a report in The Journal of Commerce.
“We want to fundamentally change the way we think and talk about transportation . . . to a focus on investing for performance that will add to long-term economic growth,” Donohue said. Donohue called on Congress to pass a new six-year transportation spending bill along with a water resources bill and improvement to the aviation system.
The Transportation Performance Index was created by a team of experts led by Janet Kavinoky, executive director of Let’s Rebuild America, the chamber’s advocacy program for infrastructure improvement.