Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Airports, Inland Waterways and Marine Ports Infrastructure (2012)

Economic Development Research Group for the American Society of Engineers, 2012

The latest ASCE Failure to Act Report, entitled Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Airports, Inland Waterways and Marine Ports Infrastructure, shows that unless America’s infrastructure investment gaps are filled, transporting goods will become costlier, prices will rise, and the United States will become less competitive in the global market. As a result, employment, personal income, and GDP will all fall due to inaction.

Aging infrastructure for marine ports, inland waterways, and airports threatens more than 1 million U.S. jobs according to the report. Between now and 2020, investment needs in the nation’s marine ports and inland waterways sector total $30 billion, while planned expenditures are about $14 billion, leaving a total investment gap of nearly $16 billion. Similarly, with airports, between now and 2020 there is an investment need of about $114 billion, while anticipated spending is $95 billion, leaving a gap of nearly $19 billion, as well as an additional need of about $20 billion to implement NextGen. The report concludes that unless America’s infrastructure investment gaps are filled, transporting goods will become costlier, prices will rise, and the United States will become less competitive in the global market. As a result, employment, personal income, and GDP will all fall due to inaction.

This is the fourth report in ASCE’s Failure to Act series prepared by Economic Development Research Group. The first report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure, encompasses highways, bridges, rail, and transit. The second report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Water and Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure, focuses on the pipes, treatment plants, pumping stations, and other infrastructure that make up the nation’s public drinking-water and wastewater systems.  The third report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Electricity Infrastructure, examines ways that households and business will face higher costs if sufficient electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems are not available in the future. A Failure to Act summary report that looks at infrastructure overall will be released this winter.

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