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Underinvestment in the nation’s aging infrastructure comes at a high cost to American families and businesses, according to a new report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future finds that from 2016 to 2025 it will cost every family in the United States an average of $3,400 each year because of the inefficiencies caused by inadequate infrastructure.

Between now and 2025, investment needs across 10 infrastructure areas total $3.3 trillion. However, planned investment into infrastructure is $1.8 trillion, leaving a $1.4 trillion investment gap. Failure to Act also projects the investment gap will grow to $5.1 trillion by 2040 if investment rates continue on the current trajectory.

ASCE finds that with an increased investment of $144 billion a year — $3 more per household a day — the U.S. can eliminate this drag on the economy and can protect:

  • $3.9 trillion in GDP, more than the 2013 GDP of Germany;
  • $7 trillion of business sales;
  • 2.5 million job losses in the year 2025; and
  • $3,400 in a family’s annual disposable income each year from 2016 to 2025, equal to $9.33 a day.

The report identifies the investment gap by sector. The area with the greatest need is surface transportation, with needs totaling more than $2 trillion and an investment gap of $1.1 trillion.

“If we want our economy to thrive then we need to invest in its backbone. Instead we’ve allowed it to live on borrowed time, and are paying the price of its inefficiencies every day,” said Greg DiLoreto, past president and current chair of the Committee for America’s Infrastructure, ASCE. “The continued underinvestment into our transportation, energy, and water systems is hurting families and businesses. While there has been some recent legislative success, it unfortunately has not been nearly enough to modernize our aging infrastructure.”

“Because of the compounding effects of inefficient infrastructure, the economic effects are extraordinary,” said Steven Landau, vice president, Economic Development Research Group, Inc.

The initial Failure to Act studies and this updated study compared current and projected needs for infrastructure investment against the current funding trends in surface transportation (highways, bridges, rail, and transit); water and wastewater; electricity; and airport and waterborne transportation.

View the full report, Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future, at asce.org/failuretoact.

Information provided by the American Society of Civil Engineers (asce.org).

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