By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Investment in transportation construction industry employment and purchases supports about four million American jobs and generates nearly $510 billion in annual U.S. economic activity, or more than the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 160 nations, a new ARTBA report details. 

“The 2015 U.S. Transportation Construction Industry Profile” by ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black estimates the annual value of public and private transportation construction work and maintenance this year will reach nearly $275 billion, or more than wireless communication carriers ($254 billion), insurance agencies and brokers ($219 billion), or automobile manufacturing ($131.4 billion), among others.

Without the infrastructure built, maintained and managed by the nation’s transportation construction industry, virtually all of the major industry sectors that comprise the U.S. economy—and the American jobs they sustain—would not exist or could not efficiently and profitably function.

“The simple fact is that nearly 63 million American jobs in just tourism, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture and forestry, general construction, mining, retailing and wholesaling alone are dependent on the work done by the U.S. transportation construction industry,” Black said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has identified $877 billion in critical highway and bridge construction projects across the country. This backlog has ballooned as American drivers tally their highest mileage totals since before the Great Recession, leading to economy-crippling congestion.

“These trends underscore once again the importance of having a comprehensive national strategy that significantly boosts transportation investment to address these predictable mobility challenges,” Black said. “Congress must do its part this fall by completing action on a long-term highway and transit bill.”

ARTBA has created a website, www.transportationcreatesjobs.org, which includes a clickable U.S. map with national data.  State data is also available and includes statistics on: job creation, federal and state payroll tax revenue generated, the scope and conditions of each state’s transportation network, value of freight shipments, commuting patterns and motor vehicle crashes.