In the next seven years, infrastructure in the United States will require investment totaling $2.75 trillion, and with planned expenditures of only $1.66 trillion, the country needs to increase its support to ensure no transportation shortfalls, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
While instituting sustainable practices will help, the bulk of the problem can only be alleviated with increased investment, the engineers said.
In its latest Failure to Act
report, the organization outlines an annual investment of $157 billion in order to close the $1.1 trillion infrastructure gap. By 2040, infrastructure needs will balloon to $10 trillion, with an investment gap of $4.7 trillion.
The report addresses two main goals: building infrastructure to service
an increased population and maintaining current infrastructure. The
current report serves as a preface to the organization’s Report Card for
, released every four years, which is due out
in March. U.S. infrastructure received a "D" grade on the last report card.
Surface transportation needs — roads, bridges and transit — account for the largest portion of the investment gap, with airports, and inland waterways and marine ports requiring the least amount of money. In fact, while only 51 percent of surface needs by 2020 are funded, airports will receive 71 percent of their needed infrastructure money. Funding for surface transport will decline to 46 percent by 2040, with airport funding increasing to 76 percent.
“The deterioration of the nation’s infrastructure undermines the economy, jeopardizes our safety, threatens our quality of life and harms the environment,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Janet F. Kavinoky said in a statement. “Public and private investment and new, innovative strategies are needed to repair, rebuild and revitalize the nation’s transportation systems — from roads and bridges to locks to air traffic control — to connect workers with employers, employers with suppliers and businesses with their customers.”
With the status quo intact, the retail industry will lose $95 billion by 2020 due to the infrastructure gap. By 2040, the finance and insurance sector, fourth on the 2020 list, will have moved to the top of the list, losing $204 billion in potential sales and output. If the infrastructure gap continues, the retail industry will say goodbye to 786,000 jobs by 2020 and close to 1.2 million jobs by 2040.
“We need to continue to invest in our country’s inland waterways in order to have a state-of-the-art system that can compete on the world’s stage,” Rick Calhoun, president of Cargo Carriers, said in a release announcing the findings. “Without sustained investment, we run a greater risk of having a failure in our inland waterways system that would disrupt water navigation nationwide.” - Jon Ross