Report shows economic impact of inaction

July 29, 2011

From the AASHTO Journal, July 29, 2011:

ASCE Report: Failing to Invest in Transportation
Will Cause Job Loss, Damage Economy 

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 during the next decade, according to a new report released Wednesday by the American Society of Civil Engineers.ASCE’s report (click here to download a copy), conducted by the Economic Development Research Group of Boston, indicates that last year, deficiencies in America’s roads, bridges, and transit systems cost American households and businesses more than $129 billion, including roughly $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.

If investments in surface transportation infrastructure are not made soon, those costs are expected to grow exponentially, the society asserts. Within 10 years, U.S. businesses would pay an added $430 billion in transportation costs, median household income would fall by more than $7,000, and U.S. exports would fall $28 billion.

“Clearly, failing to invest in our roads, bridges, and transit systems has a dramatic negative impact on America’s economy,” ASCE President Kathy Caldwell, said in a statement. “The link between a nation’s infrastructure and its economic competitiveness has always been understood. 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. This report is a wake-up call for policymakers because it shows that investing in infrastructure contributes to creating jobs, while failing to do so hurts Main Street America.”

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