America’s Crumbling Transportation System and How it Affects Auto Transporters
You may not be aware of this, but the U.S. transportation system is falling apart, to the point that eleven different former Department of Transportation secretaries penned an open letter to Congress telling them something must be done. Congress will be voting on a new transportation funding bill soon, but if their track record is any indication they won’t do anything with the bill, and it’ll likely die out. Funding used to be pretty much automatic; every six years, Congress would extend transportation funding via the Department of Transportation to help fix bridges, fill in pot holes and maintain railroads, among other things. Now, however, Congress funds these things in “fits and starts” – the last major transportation funding bill was passed over a decade ago. This has led to a crumbling Interstate Highway System, disused and ill-maintained railroads and less money for everyone involved in keeping things up to snuff.
The IHS is perhaps the most concerning for our industry, because it can lead to safety problems and much more. Bad roads by themselves can cause auto transport companies thousands of dollars per year in additional maintenance because of undue wear and tear, and guess who they pass those savings on to? That’s right: you. Right now the U.S. moves over seven billion tons of freight every year, including automobiles, and according to that letter that number will double by 2050, with 100 million new people added. This will put a lot of strain on our infrastructure and could lead to even more disastrous consequences later on.
Things like badly maintained interstate highways not only can lead to wear and tear for auto transportation companies, but it can also lead to damaged freight, particularly when it comes to automobiles. Barring a catastrophic accident, things such as pot holes, dull lane markers, badly designed on-ramps and off-ramps and dangerously constructed stretches of road can plague auto shippers along certain routes. These problems can lead to accidents with other motorists, thus damaging the cars they are hauling. Pot holes can cause damage to the trucks themselves, and could lead to breakdowns and blown tires that can take days or even weeks to fix properly. Hopefully this letter from those former DOT secretaries has some impact on the people running this country; right now, stop-gap measures aren’t getting it done, and it’s not just auto transport drivers that are feeling the strain.