ASCE Releases New Study Detailing the Consequences of Failing to Invest in US Infrastructure

Failure to Act series culminating report quantifies overall economic opportunity with infrastructure investment

ASCE Failure to Act

Improving the condition of our nation’s aging roads, bridges, power lines, sewer systems, ports and waterways is critical to protecting 3.5 million jobs, according to the new American Society of Civil Eng. (ASCE) report, “Failure to Act: The Impact of Current Infrastructure Investment on America’s Economic Growth.” Between now and 2020, investment needs across key infrastructure sectors total $2.75 trillion, while planned expenditures are about $1.66 trillion, leaving a total investment gap of $1.1 trillion.

“Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy and provides the foundation for assuring a high quality of life for all Americans,” said Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S, D.WRE, president of ASCE. “Our culminating Failure to Act report shows that deteriorating infrastructure has a cascading impact on our nation’s economy, yet we have a real opportunity to make crucial investments in America’s infrastructure that will pay off in huge economic dividends.”

ASCE finds that with an additional investment of $157 billion a year between now and 2020, the U.S. can eliminate this drag on economic growth and protect:

  • • $3.1 trillion in GDP, more than the 2011 GDP of France
  • • $1.1 trillion in U.S. trade value, equivalent to Mexico’s GDP
  • • 3.5 million jobs, more than the jobs created in the U.S. over the previous 22 months
  • • $2.4 trillion in consumer spending, comparable to Brazil’s GDP
  • • $3,100 in annual household income

“The deterioration of the nation’s infrastructure undermines the economy, jeopardizes our safety, threatens our quality of life and harms the environment,” said Janet F. Kavinoky, executive director of transportationand infrastructure for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Public and private investment and new, innovative strategies are needed to repair, rebuild and revitalize the nation’s transportation systems—from roads and bridges to locks to air traffic control—to connect workers with employers, employers with suppliers and businesses with their customers."

The Failure to Act studies compare current and projected needs for infrastructure investment against the current funding trends in surface transportation (highways, bridges, rail, transit); water and wastewater; electricity; and airport and waterborne transportation.

“We need to continue to invest in our country’s inland waterways in order to have a state-of-the-art system that can compete on the world’s stage,” said Rick Calhoun, president of Cargo Carriers. “Without sustained investment, we run a greater risk of having a failure in our inland waterways system that would disrupt water navigation nationwide.”

The full Failure to Act report, including infographics depicting data trends, can be found at The report’s projections assume needs and available funding based on current trends, and do not adjust for possible costs associated with climate change, changes in regulations, or other factors.


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