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Building a Future: Falling Apart and Falling Behind

September 2011


This report lays out the economic challenges posed by our ailing infrastructure and suggests a series of recommendations for crafting new innovative transportation policies in the U.S.

Rebuilding America’s economic foundation is one of the most important missions we face in the 21st century. Our parents and grandparents built America into the world’s leading economic superpower. We have a responsibility to our own children and grandchildren to strengthen—not squander —that inheritance, and to pass on to them a country whose best days are still ahead.

Our citizens live in a turbulent, complicated, and competitive world. The worst recession in eighty years cost us trillions in wealth and drove millions of Americans out of their jobs and homes. Even more, it called into question their belief in our system and faith in the way forward.

Our infrastructure—and the good policy making that built it—is a key reason America became an economic superpower. But many of the great decisions which put us on that trajectory are now a half-century old. In the last decade, our global economic competitors have led the way in planning
and building the transportation networks of the 21st century. Countries around the world have not only started spending more than the United States does today, but they made those financial commitments—of both public and private dollars—on the basis of 21st-century strategies that will
equip them to make commanding strides in economic growth over the next 20-25 years.

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