Inefficient infrastructure causes traffic delays and costs money. It hasn’t always been easy to precisely pinpoint the full costs of America’s infrastructure shortfalls, however new data showing five minute delays here and there cost one company, UPS, $105 million per year in added costs. That begins to tell us more about how our well-worn and sometimes worn-out infrastructure is costing companies big time. The backdrop to all of this is that highway and transit funding, which pays for highway and transit infrastructure investments, is set to run out in under 100 days. And with a Congress that doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to address it, it raises concerns about the immediate and long-term transportation funding future.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) the cost of crumbling infrastructure could total $1 trillion between 2012 and 2020.
At what cost?
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) the cost of crumbling infrastructure could total $1 trillion between 2012 and 2020. That’s not all. Reduced productivity and higher costs could drain $3.1 trillion from the country’s gross domestic product. The data underscores the point that neglecting our infrastructure is taking a bite out of America’s net worth.
In 2013, ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,” which is a slight improvement over previous “D” grades, and estimated that to get to a grade of “B” would require an investment of $3.6 trillion over the next seven years.
The huge number of water main breaks, bridge closures, pothole-ridden roads and much more in communities from coast-to-coast are alarming but we can’t afford complacency.
What we can do about it
President Obama, ASCE, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and a host of others recognize the necessity of long-term infrastructure investments and have taken steps to draw attention to this need. The president allocated $478 billion over six years for transportation in his proposed budget. ASCE’s infrastructure report cards provide and other general advocacy provide a revealing look at how infrastructure has gotten better or worse over time. Ray LaHood has called out lawmakers time and again for failing to muster up the political courage to do something meaningful.
Additionally the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America plan illustrates the benefits of long-term investments if we make the necessary repairs. For example, repairing America’s infrastructure could create 2.7 million jobs across the economy and increase the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $377 billion, while reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions and better protecting communities from the impacts of climate change.
States and cities are doing what they can to prevent the pipes under our cities from rotting away, water or natural gas leaking from energy infrastructure; fix congested roads; and prevent our schools from falling apart, wasting energy and water. The onus is on Congress to make the most impactful investment of long-term, predictable federal funding.
It’s time to step up infrastructure investments sooner rather than later. Time is money, especially for businesses like UPS and many others like it. Now’s the time to tell Congress to get to work to repair America!