For much of our nation’s history, infrastructure has provided the U.S. with a significant global advantage. But what was once our advantage is quickly becoming a vulnerability.
Our company Correct Craft, like many in the boating industry, is uniquely American. A builder of multiple boat and engine brands and one of the largest companies in our industry, we manufacture our products which are composed of primarily U.S. components, in multiple states. Our Correct Craft companies sell our American-made products all over the globe through distributors in sixty-seven countries. Our company helps support thousands of workers and their families across the U.S. and those families, and others in our industry, are at risk because of our national lack of support for infrastructure.
Millions of families across the U.S. depend on utilities, roads, ports, dams, airports, and rail for their livelihood. For most of our history the U.S. has done a great job at not only protecting these families but also providing each new generation with opportunities by ensuring good infrastructure to get people to work. That infrastructure is decaying rapidly and, even if it were well maintained, it would be inadequate for the expected growth of our population and economy in the future.
Much of the rest of the world gets this and sees an investment opportunity. Many of the developed and developing countries spend twice as much as the U.S. on infrastructure development and improvement (as a percentage of GDP). While we are not even keeping our infrastructure maintained, other countries are building fresh new infrastructure. They are developing a strong foundation that threatens to take away our economic leadership.
Many people in the U.S., regardless of political persuasion, acknowledge this problem and know we need to do something. However, our nation remains paralyzed because we cannot figure out an agreeable way to pay for it.
Recently, I was at the White House in a meeting that included U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and we discussed this issue. Some suggested an increase in the gas tax. Others advocated for a one-time opportunity for U.S. multinational companies to bring dollars held overseas (because of U.S. tax law disadvantages) back into the U.S. in exchange for a significantly reduced tax that would be directed to infrastructure. There are also other alternatives.
Almost any of the funding alternatives are better than not doing anything. We cannot allow decaying infrastructure to have a devastating impact on the livelihood of American families. Long-term infrastructure funding is a great long-term investment and has not only helped build the U.S. into an economic powerhouse but has also helped build the US boating industry. Infrastructure helps keep the economy moving and America strong. We need Congress to act on this today.
Bill Yeargin is the president and CEO of Correct Craft.