Lack of infrastructure investment costs U.S. economy trillions, civil engineers warn

The U.S. will lose 3.1 million jobs, $2.4 trillion in consumer spending, $3.1 trillion in gross national product and $1.1 trillion in trade unless it invests another $1.57 billion per year in infrastructure, according to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The report (.pdf) also says personal disposable income will drop by $3,100 per person if the investments in roads, airports, seaports, waterways, electricity, water and wastewater are not made.
"From transporting goods, powering factories, to heating and cooling office buildings, lighting theaters, to enjoying a glass of clean water, we depend on infrastructure as the physical framework for our economy and our quality of life," ASCE's president, Gregory E. DiLoreto, said when releasing the report, according to an ASCE announcement.
The report, produced for ASCE by the Boston-based Economic Development Research Group, says that by 2020 the United States needs to invest another $39 billion in airports, $16 billion in seaports and waterways, $846 billion in surface transportation, $107 billion in electricity, and $84 billion in drinking water and wastewater.
The report was the fifth of five in ASCE's Failure to Act series looking at what it says are problems created by underinvestment in public infrastructure. Previous reports looked at implications for industry productivity, national competitiveness and household costs.
The reports showed that "business costs and therefore prices will increase if surface transportation systems worsen; ports and inland waterways become outdated or congested; and if water, wastewater, and electricity infrastructure systems deteriorate or fail to keep up with changing demand," the report concluded.
Next from ASCE: release of its 2013 "Report Card for America's Infrastructure," assessing a grade between A through F. The last report card, issued in 2009, said the United States earned a "D" average for its performance in infrastructure investment.
For more:
- download the report (.pdf)
- read the ASCE announcement
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