Gas Taxes Bring Big Dividends

(NUI) - Have you ever wondered what happens with the federal and state gas taxes and airline ticket taxes you pay? Your money is being invested in building and maintaining the largest and safest transportation infrastructure network in the world.

A new study quantifies the many impacts transportation infrastructure has on the American economy and way of life. Research by Dr. William R. Buechner, American Road & Transportation Builders Association vice president of economics and research, analyzes data from government and industry sources.

According to Buechner's report, the U.S. transportation construction industry has put your tax dollars to work by building an impressive American infrastructure network that includes: 3.9 million miles of roads and highways, 5,400 airports, 200,000 miles of freight and passenger railroad trac, 5,800 miles of urban mass transit line serving more than 2,300 stations and 360 ports.

The ARTBA analysis also found a two-for-one public health return from investment in transportation. Every $1 billion invested by the public in government-financed road improvements since 1950 has already helped prevent 1,400 premature deaths and nearly 50,000 injuries. This has saved American society over $2 billion on health care, insurance, lost wages and productivity costs.

America's transportation network makes possible more than 4 trillion miles of personal travel annually -- an average of 15,000 miles per person -- and the movement of more than $6 trillion dollars worth of freight annually.

The total value of our transportation infrastructure is $1.75 trillion. That's 12 percent of the value of all tangible productive assets in the American economy. It's also 10 times the current total value of all computers being used by American businesses!

Not surprisingly, given the magnitude of the job at hand, transportation construction generates $160 billion per year in U.S. economic activity and sustains 2.2 million American jobs. To put those numbers in perspective, road, airport, rail, transit and waterway construction has a greater positive impact on the economy than the petroleum, motion picture and tobacco industries combined.

I am very proud that our transporation network helps drive the economy and connect American families. It provides Americans with unprecedented freedom of mobility and the many choices that it provides.

The 1999 ARBTA Chairman, Stan Lanford, is president and chief executive officer of Lanford Brothers Company, Inc., a highway and bridge construction firm based in Roanoke, Va.

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