In this section, we detail the less obvious, but equally significant, Economic Dividends of the Steel Interstate. The Energy Advantages and National Security portions of this web site describe the enormous strategic advantages of the Steel Interstate in eliminating the petroleum strangle-hold on American mobility. But the benefits go far beyond these huge Energy, National Security, and Environmental considerations.
Clearly if 7% of the nation’s total current oil consumption can be saved, at only the modest cost of 1% more electrical use, as one analysis projects, that can go a long way toward paying for the build-out of the Steel Interstate system.
It is important to realize that despite recent growth in domestic petroleum production, the U.S. still imported about half of it oil from foreign countries in 2013. There are huge positive implications from not sending hundreds of billions of dollars annually overseas to pay for oil. This money could be kept here at home, funding jobs, growth, and economic opportunity. The nation’s balance of payments deficit would also shift markedly, as oil imports constitute a large piece of the monthly imbalance.
The Steel Interstate build-out would be an economic boost to the nation over many decades. Unlike short term stimulus measures, the Steel Interstate is not a “one shot in the arm” effort. As with the Interstate Highway program over the past 50 years, the Steel Interstate would pump economic investment into the nation’s transportation infrastructure over many decades.