Infrastructure is the backbone of the U.S. economy and a necessary input to every economic output. The role of infrastructure in economic growth is critical to the nation’s prosperity and the public’s health and welfare. Infrastructure’s condition has a cascading impact on our nation’s economy, impacting business productivity, gross domestic product (GDP), employment, personal income, and international competitiveness.

America’s infrastructure bill is long overdue. Every four years, ASCE estimates the investment needed in each infrastructure category to maintain a state of good repair and earn a grade of B. The most recent analysis reveals the U.S. has only been paying half of its infrastructure bill for some time and failing to close that gap risks rising costs, falling business productivity, plummeting GDP, lost jobs, and ultimately, reduced disposable income for every American family.

Even though the U.S. Congress and some states have recently made efforts to invest more in infrastructure, these efforts do not come close to the $2.0 trillion in needs. The good news is closing America’s infrastructure gap is possible if Congress, states, infrastructure owners, and voters commit to increasing our investment. To raise the overall infrastructure grade and maintain our global competitiveness, Congress and the states must invest an additional $206 billion each year to prevent the economic consequences to families, business, and the economy.

the role of infrastructure in economic growth

As ASCE discovered in its 2016 economic study, Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future, failing to close this infrastructure investment gap brings serious economic consequences:

  • $3.9 trillion in losses to the U.S. GDP by 2025;
  • $7 trillion in lost business sales by 2025; and
  • 2.5 million lost American jobs in 2025.

On top of those costs, hardworking American families will lose upwards of $3,400 in disposable income each year – about $9 each day.

The time to invest in our nation’s infrastructure is now. The longer we wait, the more it costs. Investing now will save our country more in the long run while also creating economic opportunity, enhancing quality of life, and ensuring public health and safety.