The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) most recent Report Card
for America's Infrastructure gave the nation's highways, bridges,
tunnels, dams, wastewater systems, etc. an overall grade of "D." The
ASCE estimated $1.6 trillion is needed over a five-year period to bring
U.S. infrastructure to good condition. Importantly, the society noted
that establishing a long-term development and maintenance plan must
become a national priority. And, it actually presented the 110th
Congress with an "Action Plan" for the immediate future.
Back in March, ASCE President William F. Marcuson III,
P.E., Ph.D., told Congress, "Establishing a long-term plan for the
country's infrastructure must become a national priority, but in the
short term, there are realistic and immediate steps that must be taken.
By passing legislation introduced but not enacted by the previous
Congress, our current leaders can make protecting public health,
safety, and welfare a top priority."
this advice could not be acted on soon enough. The sorry state of the
nation's infrastructure was suddenly brought to the forefront by the
tragic collapse in early August of a bridge in Minnesota over the
Mississippi River. The human and economic toll of this tragedy is still
being calculated. In the meantime, our crumbling infrastructure will
continue to have a negative effect on the United States' quality of
life as well as its economy.
Just look at the nation's
road systems. They were given a grade of only "D+" by the ASCE in 2001
and have deteriorated further, only receiving a grade of "D" in 2005.
The nation's economic prosperity depends, among other things, on
shipping more goods over roads, and their poor condition has negative
In fact, last year marked the
50th anniversary of the Interstate Highway System, envisioned by
President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a system that would shrink the
continent. Yet, Janet Kavinoky, director of transportation
infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warns, "We're going to
run out of capacity pretty quick, and that is going to put a grinding
halt on productivity, profitability, and our way of life."
National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler concurs:
"Ever-increasing traffic backups from coast to coast are impeding the
ability of business to transport goods efficiently.Transportation costs
are a major factor in our ability to compete in the global marketplace."
These issues are of great concern to those responsible for their
companies' logistics operations, and this month, we address these
individuals in our cover story, "Opting for Better Logistics
Locations." Distribution delays caused by congestion and security
issues are examined and supply chain optimization strategies are
explained. Be sure to read this article and all of the issue's contents
to keep your company on the road - no pun intended - to success.