Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

It's not just roads — we must make sure all of our infrastructure can keep up with competitors.

Vice President Joe Biden visited Philadelphia on Thursday, where he toured a dredging barge that is working to deepen the Delaware River — a project that showcases what we at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) have been saying about how infrastructure investment is key to ensuring America can remain competitive on the global stage.

See, cargo ships are getting bigger, and need more room in order to access key ports like those on the Delaware River. Right now, some large ships that service the Delaware Valley must transfer their cargo onto smaller vessels before heading upriver to places like the Port of Philadelphia.

Deepening the river from 40 to 45 feet will allow many of those bigger ships to head directly to Philly. And that's a big f—ing deal, especially since products are able to reach 40 percent of the U.S. population from the port within a day’s drive. As Biden explained:

Manufacturers locate in this region in no small part, not just because there’s a great labor force, but because manufacturers are going to go where they can get their products from the floor of their manufacturing facility to their customers the fastest, the cheapest. And the products they need, the raw materials they need to build their products, they have to have easy access to as well. It’s a simple business proposition. They go where it is most economical… It cuts us out of a whole lot of commerce, cuts us out of a whole lot of new jobs, if they can’t come up the Delaware.

Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure isn’t just about rebuilding roads and bridges (although that definitely needs to happen, considering one in five of those are considered to be in poor condition or deficient). We need to look at the needs of America’s entire infrastructure system, from ports to railways to airports and pipelines. All of it is connected, and all of it needs to work for America to work.

The great news? When we invest in our infrastructure, we will see results — every $1 billion will help create more than 21,600 new jobs. An investment of $114 billion could support 2.5 million jobs.

Tell policymakers that it’s time to get to work.