Over the next half-century, the U.S. is projected to add 150 million new residents, a 50 percent increase over its current population. This growing society will demand higher levels of goods and services, and will rely on the transportation system to access them. In turn, this will cause travel to grow at an even greater rate than the population.
As part of an increasingly integrated global economy, the U.S. will see greater pressures on its international gateways and domestic freight distribution network to deliver products and materials to where they are needed. The Nation is faced with a massive increase in passenger and freight travel.
The Nation’s surface transportation program has reached a crossroads. Will it continue to function as it has since the completion of the Interstate system, pursuing no discernible national interests other than the political imperatives of “donor State” rights and congressional earmarking? Or will it advance concerted actions to confront the transportation challenges facing the Nation that have reached crisis proportions–the deferred maintenance of its basic infrastructure; the burgeoning international trade and its impact on our road and rail networks; the traffic congestion that is crippling metropolitan America; the continued carnage on the Nation’s highways; and powering cars and trucks with fossil fuels, much of which is imported from foreign countries?