Does the U.S. need a trillion dollar coin for infrastructure?

Summary:If the U.S. doesn't bridge a trillion dollar investment gap, its poor infrastructure will be a drag on the economy.

Okay, maybe the United States doesn't need a trillion dollar coin to pay for infrastructure immediately, but one group says that investments in the trillion dollar range will be needed in the coming years or else the nation's poor infrastructure will be a drag on the economy.

A new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) -- the same organization that graded U.S. infrastructure as a D --  says that between now and 2020 the U.S. will need to spend over $1 trillion more than what's already planned to be spent on infrastructure. If not, the organization argues, the U.S. will lose out on economic gains, including:

  • $3.1 trillion in gross national product;
  • $1.1 trillion in trade;
  • $2.4 trillion in consumer spending;
  • $3,100 annual drop in personal disposable income; and
  • 3.1 million jobs.

In the organization's report -- produced by the Economic Development Research Group -- the U.S. will need to spend $157 billion more per year reap the economic benefits. Specifically, the report says there's an investment gap of $39 billion in airports, $16 billion in seaports and waterways, $846 billion in surface transportation, $107 billion in electricity, and $84 billion in drinking water and wastewater.

"[D]eteriorating infrastructure has a cascading impact on the nation’s economy, negatively effecting business productivity, gross domestic product, employment, personal income, and international competitiveness," said ASCE’s president, Gregory E. DiLoreto. "The message is clear: if we do not invest now, all Americans end up paying more in the long run."

Photo: Flickr/woodsboard

[h/t Governing]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter.

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