The incident, which happened without warning over the Mississippi River on Aug. 1, 2007, took the lives of 13 people and injured 145 more during the evening rush-hour commute. It also demonstrated how poor road conditions can cost the United States billions of dollars in lost opportunity, increased fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance expenses.
So, when two fierce competitors, UPS and FedEx, recently combined forces to call for more infrastructure investment, tax simplification, and free and fair trade, forwarders realized that market rivals could stand shoulder to shoulder on the need to make government policies simpler, more equitable and more growth-oriented.
FedEx CEO Fred Smith and UPS CEO David Abney argued that our country needs to set more ambitious targets for its growth after noting that the real 2 percent annual growth in recent years is insufficient. Bigger thinking will encourage company planners to innovate and unleash productivity, but the right policies need to be in place so that everyone can prosper.
The express leaders called for the implementation of simple, fair and progressive taxation as the cornerstone of growth, where lower tax rates, the elimination of loopholes and tax code simplification can create opportunity in the business sector. The resulting rise in GDP would keep tax revenue constant, so the government could still fund necessary programs while allowing individuals and firms to invest more for growth.
Other countries, including China and India, are investing significant amounts into infrastructure as the United States falls behind. This global competition is why the U.S. must expand and modernize its roads, bridges, airports, seaports and other transport modes. A long-term approach with multiple funding mechanisms, including user fees and innovative partnerships with the private sector, is essential, but these funds must be dedicated specifically to transportation infrastructure.
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