The nation’s deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 870,000 jobs, and suppress the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product by $3.1 trillion by 2020 according to a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Failure to Act: The economic impact of current investment trends in surface transportation infrastructure shows that in 2010 alone, deficiencies in America’s roads, bridges, and transit systems cost American households and businesses more than $129 billion, including approximately $97 billion in vehicle operating costs, $32 billion in delays in travel time, $1.2 billion in safety costs, and $590 million in environmental costs.
Every four years ASCE publishes the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which grades the current state of the country’s infrastructure on a scale from A through D (excellent to poor) or F (failing). America’s most recent transportation grade – including bridges, roads, railways and transit – was a paltry D. Failure to Act lays bare the surprisingly large economic implications of this low grade.
The findings are particularly troubling in light of Smart Growth America’s Repair Priorities report, which revealed many states continue to invest in road expansion rather than repair – despite the serious financial implications such neglect carries. As ASCE explains, allowing roads and other infrastructure to fall in to poor condition has the potential to lower the standard of living for American families, weigh heavily on American businesses, and cause America to loose ground in the 21st century global economy.
Shifting current spending to prioritize road preservation, rather than expansion, is a great first step toward bringing our infrastructure back up to good condition. Read more in Smart Growth America’s Repair Priorities.