New Report Finds the Failure to Act on Infrastructure Threatens America

A new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) details the damage inadequate infrastructure investment over decades has done – and continues to do – to our nation. Failure to Act: Economic Impacts of Status Quo Investment Across Infrastructure System finds that a continued failure to invest in America’s infrastructure will hurt America in a variety of ways including higher costs to consumers, job losses, and the destruction of vulnerable industries.

We are merely treading water. Citizens ultimately suffer when we refuse to invest.” Tom Smith, Executive Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers

 This report finds that over the next 20 years, the average American household will spend $3,000 a year because of infrastructure deficiencies. That lost disposable income comes from the many disruptions citizens face by sitting in traffic, driving subpar roadways, delivery interruptions, power outages, and water main breaks. Americans simply can’t afford to lose $275 a month because of infrastructure inaction.

The analysis shows that in addition to the $9 trillion in lost disposable income, jobs will also be impacted. About 47% of the projected job losses in 20 years will be in high wage, high production jobs like manufacturing and healthcare, showing the real-world impacts when infrastructure is sub-par. Smith adds:

“We can’t compete in this environment. We are already paying the price, but costs will mount. If we don’t act, we’ll lose 10.3 trillion in GDP and 3 million jobs. We need to act now to head this off.”

Leon Topalian, President, and CEO of Nucor Corporation says now may finally be the time something will change.

“Every aspect of our infrastructure needs to be upgraded. The time for talk is over we need to move forward. This needs to be our watershed moment and I challenge our leaders to act now.”

The Biden infrastructure team, including Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg, has said infrastructure will be on the fast track and a $1 trillion package could be addressed in the first 100 days. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), House Transportation Committee, says this issue is not only important economically it also has the ability to unite a fractured Congress.

“There is an opportunity to do something that is broad and inclusive and gives people across the country, and in both parties, opportunities to engage. Infrastructure is a mechanism to bring us together and I hope we can take advantage of it.”

DBIA has long urged congressional efforts to invest in our infrastructure and continues to lobby Congress for action. You can learn more about our legislative efforts in 2021 in our latest podcast.