Have you heard of the Alliance for American Competitiveness (AFAC)? If you haven’t, you are probably not alone, since the organization was created just a couple of weeks ago. The organization represents a partnership between major corporations (BNSF Railway, Caterpillar, Dow, Honeywell and UPS) that was forged in order to address growing concerns about the current state of America’s infrastructure.
Infrastructure: More Than Just Maintenance
If you’ve ever driven in or around New York City, you’ve probably seen quite a few potholes. And, if you’re one of the unlucky individuals who has hit one of these passages to the center of the Earth with your car, then you probably wondered whether or not you were actually in New York, or if you were somehow transported to El Camino de la Muerte (Bolivia’s Death Road). Luckily, you were still surrounded by that scent that reminds you that you couldn’t be anywhere but New York, but that only stalled your anger at the road for a second. You might have wondered, “Who, if anybody, maintains this and wasn’t there a stimulus package passed back in 2010 that was supposed to focus on building a quality infrastructure?”
The answer to both those questions is yes; yes, there are tons of construction workers who attempt to repair the city’s roads (there’s just too much traffic to repair all of it), and yes, the stimulus did allot a great deal of money to infrastructure improvements. Improvements are not restricted to just maintenance, according to the most recent stimulus package, because infrastructure goes far beyond just giving people a smooth drive to work in the morning (though we would all greatly appreciate it).
Building an Integrated and Modern Infrastructure
According to the AFAC website, “Our nation’s infrastructure is not just about maintaining roads, bridges, rail and waterways. It’s about how we integrate and modernize our infrastructure so that businesses can have an effective and seamless supply chain to remain competitive with the marketplace. This is critical to both short and long term growth.”
Without a modern infrastructure, the U.S. will put itself at a higher risk of falling behind economically, as businesses will move to places that have the highest quality infrastructure and best incentives. To build that system, one needs good contractors and construction workers that have the necessary skills to create the public projects (railways, bridges, roadways) that will give America a competitive advantage in the 21st century. But contractors do not work for free, they require an investment, and without the funding to produce, they will not be able to spur economic growth. As Congress debates over how much funding the Highway Trust Fund will receive, the AFAC is fighting to get the government to invest in both the present and future by investing in contractors.