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America's GPA: D+
Estimated Investment Needed by 2020:
$3.6 Trillion

Infrastructure This Week

October 11th, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

The government shutdown continues to loom over our nation’s infrastructure, causing uncertainty, hurting key services, and further showing the costs of Congressional intransigence. Much like the government itself, our infrastructure has to get out of the short-term mindset, and start planning for long-term growth. Only then will we find success. The good news is businesses and local leaders are starting to feel the costs of under-investment, and are contemplating ways to plan for future growth. Talk to you next week!    

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Government Shutdown Highlights U.S. Inability to Solve Big Problems as Gas Tax Reaches 20th Anniversary

October 1st, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

Reston, Va. — The following is a statement from Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S, D.WRE, president of The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), regarding the current government shutdown and the 20th anniversary of the last federal gas tax increase: “Today marks the 20th anniversary since the federal gas tax was last raised to 18.4 cents per gallon in 1993. With the government shutting its doors today, this is a reminder of the pressing need for bipartisan solutions to America’s largest problems. “The shutdown of the federal government will have long-lasting negative effects on America’s already outdated infrastructure. With national parks closed, repair and replacement projects will be put on hold while parks lose needed revenue. We have furloughed one-third of the U.S. Department of Transportation employees, hurting our ability to asses, plan, and respond to needed surface transportation issues. This short-sighted shutdown creates economic uncertainty and halts continuing planning, forcing infrastructure projects to use stop-gap measures for long-term needs. “Regrettably, the shutdown is nothing new. The 20th anniversary of the federal gas tax shows that Congressional inaction has for far too long hurt American families and business. Given the growth and expansion of the U.S. over the last 20 years, one has to wonder the consequences of funding our 2013 infrastructure with 1993 dollars. “According to the Consumer Price Index, the costs of many household items have nearly doubled over the last 20 years. Some examples of the price differences between 1993 and today include:
  • A loaf of bread: 1993: $0.75, 2013: $1.41
  • A pound of coffee: 1993: $2.50, 2013: $5.21
  • A new car: 1993: $12,750, 2013: $31,252
“Despite these price increases, the federal gas tax has remained stagnant with no increase over that time. Together, taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel raise more than $30 billion per year, or 85 percent of the revenue flowing into the nation’s transportation spending account. “America’s transportation infrastructure is on a collision course unless Congress takes swift action to approve a long-term revenue solution. The Highway Trust Fund will be bankrupt by 2015 and MAP-21 is set to expire in September 2014. Infrastructure projects are already being put on hold because of the uncertainty of federal funding. “The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s roads a grade of D, and bridges a C+. We found that unless investments are made, the nation’s deteriorating surface transportation will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs and suppress the growth of the country’s GDP by $897 billion by 2020. “Much like the government shutdown, our inability to invest in our nation’s infrastructure costs Americans jobs, hurts businesses, and makes life harder for working families. I urge Congress to make funding of surface transportation a priority, develop a long-term funding solution, and most importantly, end the intransigence that has for over 20 years stalled our nation’s economy.” Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit www.asce.org.

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ASCE President: Our nation’s infrastructure depends on public and private investment to thrive

August 13th, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

On August 5, 2013, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed that argued against the merits of public investment in infrastructure. The following is a response from ASCE President Greg DiLoreto: Our nation’s infrastructure depends on public and private investment to thrive Larry Schweikart and Burton Folsom’s editorial (Obama’s False History of Public Investment, Aug. 6, 2013, page A13) misses a critical point. While entrepreneurs can often drive infrastructure investment, we need both the private and public sectors to play key roles in building and maintaining America’s infrastructure. Our national highway system comprises just 4 percent of all U.S. roads, yet it revolutionized and created entire industries. Today, 40 percent of all highway traffic occurs on this system, 75 percent of heavy truck traffic and 90 percent of tourist traffic. Imagine Amazon or Coca-Cola unable to move goods easily across states. While much of this massive undertaking was planned and funded by the public sector, many private sector firms were hired to execute the work.  This critical road system created jobs in the short-term and spurred long-term economic growth. Economic growth necessitates a well-functioning, well-connected infrastructure network.  ASCE’s recent economic studies found that if the nation continues to invest at the same meager levels in infrastructure, we will see a drop of $3.1 trillion in GDP by 2020 due to the ripple effect deficient infrastructure has on our nation’s economy. Past generations recognized that infrastructure was essential to interstate commerce and a healthy economy. After World War II, Americans built the nation we know today by investing in their communities. Now that bill is coming due. We must modernize and maintain the system we have to keep America at the forefront in order to continue building a strong economic recovery. Gregory DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S, D.WRE President, American Society of Civil Engineers  

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Obama Proposes Plan for Infrastructure Funding

July 30th, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

President Obama today gave another in his series of economic speeches at an Amazon distribution center in Tennessee to propose a cut in corporate tax rates in return for a commitment from Republicans to invest more in programs spurring middle-class jobs.  As stewards of our nation’s infrastructure, the ASCE is encouraged by President Obama’s proposal to direct money from a corporate tax overhaul to help fund America’s infrastructure projects. However, while emphasizing the need to reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance on highways, bridges, transit systems, and airports nationwide is an important message to come from the President, the message alone will not fix the nation’s infrastructure problems.   ASCE President, Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S, D.WRE, released the following statement in response to the President Obama’s remarks: “As stewards of our nation’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers applauds President Obama’s proposal to direct money from a corporate tax overhaul to help fund America’s infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on reducing the backlog of deferred maintenance on highways, bridges, transit systems, and airports nationwide. Infrastructure is the foundation of our communities, and without it, our businesses, schools, and our everyday lives suffer. “The time to act is now.  It’s critical that the administration and congressional leaders put forth a clear, actionable road map with long-term funding solutions.  Leaders from all parties must come together to invest in America’s future to assure we have a strong foundation for an ever-changing 21st century economy.   “The President has said on more than one occasion that we have an ‘aging infrastructure badly in need of repair.’ Despite this statement, little has been done since the president announced his ‘Fix-It-First’ plan to rebuild America in his State of the Union address earlier this year.  Simply put, we must invest in our roads, bridges, ports, and water systems. This will help us build a 21st Century America to compete in an ever-changing global economy. “In ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s infrastructure across 16 sectors, the nation’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure received a grade of D+.  The 2013 Report Card estimates total investment needs at $3.6 trillion by 2020 across all 16 sectors, leaving a funding shortfall of $1.6 trillion based on current funding levels. “Private investment along with political leadership can help our nation grow and create much needed jobs. First class roads, bridges, and ports will lead to first class jobs, homes, and lives for American families. Yet rebuilding our nation’s roads, bridges, and water systems is not enough. We must have long-term plans for maintenance and repair, sustainable funding mechanisms that assure reliability, and the political leadership to invest in our own communities.”

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Can-Do States Who Tackle Infrastructure Are Just What the U.S. Economy Needs

July 24th, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

Sometimes you just have to do it yourself. That’s the message some states seem to be sending as federal infrastructure bills like the Water Resources Development Act keep getting sidelined by Congress or only seeing short-term efforts like the MAP-21 Transportation Reauthorization. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings has called these states that have decidedly put forward a structure or action plan for infrastructure “Can-Do States” and highlighted these states’ efforts at a recent event. These “Can-Do States” have formed new structures that operate in ways that improve their state’s access to capital or work across departments to streamline and prioritize investments. What are these states doing differently?  Start by looking at these models – the government-owned business enterprise model like Colorado’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise , or the offices for public private partnerships like Virginia that work to put together infrastructure financing deals, or initiatives like the NY Works Task Force that are used to streamline and strategically allocate New York’s capital investment dollars. According to a new report by McKinsey, infrastructure investment is one of five big “game changers” that could reboot the U.S. economy to quickly create jobs and deliver a substantial boost to GDP by 2020. They believe that increasing the U.S. annual infrastructure investment by one percentage point of GDP could erase the negative side effects of delayed maintenance, and create up to 1.8 million jobs by 2020. With states already taking the lead on reworking their infrastructure strategies to better select, deliver, and operate like McKinsey’s advising, that 1% of GDP investment could create $600 billion annually by 2030. Infrastructure may be just what every state and the whole U.S. economy needs to really grow again. What could your state do to get more infrastructure investment done with the same budget?

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