New infrastructure report says U.S. is falling behind
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04/29/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

As gas prices continue to rise gallon, a report released today calls for raising the national gas tax by as much as a dollar a gallon to begin fixing the crumbling roadway system. The report was jointly published between the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young.

Called, “Infrastructure 2008”, it compares the current and planned infrastructure investment in the U.S. in a variety of categories with other nations, and finds the U.S. wanting.

Rick Rosen is president of the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit education and research group speaking at a news conference this morning in Washington, D.C.

Dale Ann Reiss is global director of real estate for Ernst & Young. She compared the U.S. unfavorably with other nations in terms of infrastructure.

The report identifies four stages of the infrastructure lifecycle and identifies the U.S., Canada and Australia as "coasting on prosperity." India, China and the United Arab Emirates are in the "growth and development" stage. The United Kingdom, the European Union, Spain, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Panama are in the "retool and revamp" stage, while Mexico, Brazil, the Czech Republic and Russia are in the "inadequate investment" stage.

Reiss said rising nations China and India are spending more of the Gross Domestic Product on infrastructure than the U.S.

Maureen McAvey from the Urban Land Institute referred to the bridge disaster in Minneapolis last summer as a classic case of deteriorating infrastructure. But she said, it’s all about who pays for it.

The report also points out: "Traffic congestion costs motorists $78 billion a year in wasted fuel and lost time."

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