Failure to fix infrastructure would be costly, report says

| 7/27/2011

The economy, household income and job numbers will take a nosedive if the U.S. fails to invest in its roads, bridges and transit, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers in a report released Wednesday, July 27.

ASCE President Kathy Caldwell says the report should be a wake-up call to policymakers to take action in the next surface transportation authorization bill currently being developed in Congress.

“The link between a nation’s infrastructure and its economic competitiveness has always been understood,” Caldwell said in a statement. “But today, for the first time, we have data showing how much failing to invest in our surface transportation system can negatively impact job growth and family budgets.”

Failure to act now will add $430 billion in transportation costs to U.S. businesses over the next decade, the report authors said.

The ripple effect of doing the bare minimum for transportation would lead to 877,000 job losses by 2020 and cause a net “pay cut” of $7,000 in household income for the average family, the engineers stated.

Click here to read the report.

Currently, the House and Senate are crafting language for their versions of the next multiyear surface transportation program.

In the House, transportation lawmakers are eyeing a six-year bill with a federal price tag of $230 billion. That’s about a 30 percent cut from the status quo, and House Republicans are calling on the private sector to fill the void.

The Senate version calls for a two-year program at $109 billion, or roughly equal to the status quo plus a little bit more to account for inflation.

OOIDA, along with other transportation groups, is waiting to see the exact language of these proposals, including motor carrier safety provisions before taking its position. The Association supports a strong federal role in transportation funding.

House Democrats are already using the Civil Engineers’ report as a springboard to position against the cuts suggested by Republican leadership.

“The report paints a disturbing picture of how America’s small businesses and middle class family incomes will be affected by our nation’s deteriorating surface transportation systems,” House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking Democrat Nick Rahall of West Virginia, said.