DATA DRIVEN VIEW POINT: Adding debt sounds scary right now, but economists tell us the US Treasure Bill interest rates are at a record low. Still, they are in such hot demand worldwide that, when inflation is factored in, investors are paying the US Government to hold their money. Now is the time to sell US Treasury Bonds and invest the proceeds in infrastructure projects that will get America back to work, strengthen the economy and improve our economic competitiveness for years to come.
Failure to Act Economic StudiesAMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS
Infrastructure is the lifeline of our economy, and like everything, it has a lifespan. In many areas, the roads, drinking water systems and dams are simply too old. ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure graded the U.S. infrastructure with a “D.”
Now, ASCE has launched a new series of reports that take a closer look at the economic opportunity that is linked to infrastructure investment. These economic studies look forward to 2020 and 2040 to determine potential harm to GDP, personal income, and jobs if needed investments are not made.
The first two Failure to Act studies on surface transportation and water were released in 2011, and the latest report on electricity infrastructure was released in April of 2012. The air and sea ports report will be released this fall. Additionally, a final Failure to Act summary report that looks at all of theses sectors will be released this winter.
ASCE’s economic report on surface transportation, released in July 2011, found that our deteriorating infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs and suppress the growth of our GDP by $897 billion by the year 2020.
We are facing a funding gap of about $94 billion a year with our current spending levels.
The good news is that with a modest investment, roughly equivalent to 60 percent of what Americans spend on fast food per year, we can protect jobs, save travel time, and keep about $1,060 a year in the bank account of American households each year.
The latest report shows that our nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is aging and overburdened, and that investment is not keeping up with the need. However, a modest increase in investment in drinking water, wastewater, and wet weather water quality measures can prevent future economic losses.
Making this small investment in infrastructure will:
• Protect $416B in GDP
• Protect almost 700,000 jobs
• Avoid personal income losses of $541B
Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Electricity Infrastructure shows that an investment in our nation’s generation, transmission, and distribution systems can improve reliability, reduce congestion, and build the foundation for economic growth. Based on current investment trends, the national electricity infrastructure gap is estimated to be $107B by 2020, or just over $11B per year. By 2020, shortfalls in grid investments are expected to account for almost 90% of the investment gap with nearly $95B in additional dollars needed to modernize the grid.
Closing the electricity investment gap would lead to fewer brownouts and blackouts and save US businesses $126 billion, prevent the loss of 529,000 jobs and $656 billion in personal income losses for American families.
STATE AND LOCAL REPORT CARDS
In the more than a decade since the first ASCE report was issued, the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure has become a well-respected and authoritative assessment of the nation’s infrastructure. In order to broaden the dialogue on infrastructure renewal, ASCE’s Sections, Branches and Councils have taken the lead in evaluating their own state infrastructure and releasing state and local Infrastructure Report Cards. Prepared by teams of local experts in each subject area, these state and local Infrastructure Report Cards continue to raise awareness and make a case supporting infrastructure renewal.
- Inland Empire Infrastructure Report Card
- Kern County Infrastructure Report Card
- Los Angeles County Infrastructure Report Card
- Northern California Levee Infrastructure Report Card
- Orange County Infrastructure Report Card
- Sacramento Infrastructure Report Card
- San Diego County Infrastructure Report Card
- San Francisco Bay Area Infrastructure Report Card