Roads, bridges, rails, ports, airports, pipes, the power grid, broadband… it is all infrastructure. It affects our daily commutes and our summer vacations. Infrastructure determines if we can drink water straight from our taps and flush our toilets. It brings electricity into our homes and factories. According to a 2015 study, Utah faces an astounding $60 billion to both maintain and provide infrastructure at every level over the next twenty years. While this is not unique to Utah, we are better positioned than most to make the kind of moves necessary to address these needs.

That is why this May the Salt Lake Chamber in partnership with the Utah Transportation Coalition are  joining hundreds of organizations across the country to raise awareness about this critical issue by participating in Infrastructure Week 2017: Time to Build.

Every year America fails to adequately invest in our infrastructure, the United States becomes less competitive, our economy grows more slowly, and families and businesses lose valuable time and money. The goods we manufacture cost more when they get stuck on congested highways, rerouted around structurally deficient bridges, and stranded at outdated ports. World War II era radar technology and airports at capacity deter U.S. consumers from traveling, annually robbing the economy tens of billions of dollars. Decades of underfunding and deferred maintenance have pushed our country to the brink of a national infrastructure crisis.

It is time to say “enough.” We can build something better than this. Examples here in Utah show us that it is entirely possible to build something better than this. Over the past several decades, Utah’s elected officials have prioritized disciplined planning and investment that have become model for the rest of the nation.

Despite our progress, we still have a long road ahead. Innovations can bolster economic growth. On the other hand, failing to use them can adversely affect our prosperity if not properly addressed.

Projections indicate that Utah’s population will reach nearly 7 million by 2060, staying ahead of this tremendous growth by continuing to lead the nation in infrastructure decisions will be critical to future economic success.

We are going to need collaboration between the public and private sectors to create innovative solutions. And leaders at all levels need to commit to building a long-term, sustainable plan to invest in America’s infrastructure.

Join us for a luncheon panel discussing these issues and more with some of Utah’s foremost infrastructure leaders on Tuesday, May 16th. Learn more about the event and its speakers here.

The Utah Transportation Coalition collaborates with partners to make smart and sustainable transportation choices and to secure adequate, stable and long term funding to support a high quality of life and economic growth in Utah.  The Coalition is a strong voice for continued investment in Utah’s transportation system and is an advocate for community-led objectives and the identification of key infrastructure projects. For more information visit http://utahtransportation.org/.