Drive Our Economy
Washington, D.C. – 7/1/2011
Fully Fund Surface Transportation Bill
As Americans take to America’s roads and highways for summer vacation, the travel industry eagerly welcomes the influx of vacationers and the financial boost travelers inject into the U.S. economy. But the annual economic gains derived from travelers could be compromised by a singular looming threat—the aging of our nation’s highways and roadways. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 90 percent of tourist travel is dependent on the National Highway System—a system of roads, rails and bridges that civil engineers routinely rate as deficient or functionally obsolete.
Sufficient investment for transportation infrastructure will strengthen and grow the U.S. economy. Small towns and rural areas are especially dependent on highways. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than with those communities that serve as gateways to the national parks and other public lands.
The critical imperative to maintain our transportation infrastructure is self-evident. Last year the U.S. travel industry generated $1.8 trillion in economic output. And direct travel-related expenditures alone brought in $118 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments.
Travel ranks among the top three sources of employment in many states. Nationally, employment supported by our industry was 14 million jobs, adding up to a payroll of $188 billion.
The traditional summer vacation is a source of enjoyment and freedom to so many Americans. For others, it’s a source of income and stability. As families prepare to hit the road this summer, we urge Congress to remove the roadblock and fully fund a surface transportation bill that will allow this vital economic engine to run smoothly, so Americans can get to their destinations safely and vacation memories can drive our economy for future generations.
About the authors:
Robert L. Darbelnet is president and CEO of AAA. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Roger Dow is president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $1.8 trillion in economic output and supports 14.1 million jobs.
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