Truckers highlight need for increase in infrastructure spending

A jump in the freight transported by trucks is a sign pointing to a need for increased spending on infrastructure, the American Trucking Association argues.

The U.S. freight economy is projected to grow in the next decade, with trucks carrying the most goods and revenue, according to a new report from the group.

The American Trucking Association’s U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2022 predicts the amount of freight transported will increase by 24 percent by 2022. The freight transportation industry's revenue is projected to rise by 66 percent.

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The trucking group argues the forecast shows a need for increased investments by Congress in the nation’s highway system.

“Highways are the lifeblood of the economy,” ATA chief economist Bob Costello said in an interview. “And this study shows that we should make sure we invest in highways and bridges.”

The trucking industry's share of the freight market will jump to 70 percent by 2022, though its share of freight revenues will only increase 0.2 percent.

In comparison, domestic waterborne transportation is likely to only grow 2 percent annually until 2016, and then grow 0.2 percent per year through 2022. Rail’s share of freight is expected to fall to 14.6 percent from 15.3 percent.

Business groups have been pressing Congress to spend money on the nation’s roads, waterways, rails and bridges. Costello said the trucking group is worried about a decaying infrastructure.

“We're very concerned that infrastructure is decaying,” he said. “We can't ignore investments in infrastructure, because they're too important.”