Infrastructure inadequacies will stifle U.S. economic growth, cost each American household $3,300 a year, cause the loss of $10 trillion in GDP and lead to a decline of more than $23 trillion in business productivity cumulatively over the next two decades if the U.S. does not close a growing gap in the investments needed for bridges, roads, airports, power grids, water supplies and more, according to a new economic study.
The report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), “Failure to Act: Economic Impacts of Status Quo Investment Across Infrastructure Systems,” finds that continued underinvestment in infrastructure and the resulting inefficiencies will have a cascading effect on the economy.
Major sectors like manufacturing, health care, housing, food services and more would also be harmed, the study said. The report finds that U.S. manufacturers are especially vulnerable to underinvestment because the production of goods — such as cars, chemicals, foods and metals — requires energy, water, transportation systems and ports for those goods being shipped, including to international markets. If the infrastructure investment gap is not closed , the report says U.S. exports will be reduced by $2.4 trillion and the country will lose $4 trillion in trade, which will cause the national trade deficit to balloon by $626 billion by 2039.
Jobs losses nationally will amount to 3 million in 2039. The report estimates about 47 percent of the jobs lost in 2039 will be high-wage and high-production jobs including manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate, professional services and health care.
Between now and 2039, the ASCE report estimates that nearly $13 trillion is needed across 11 infrastructure areas: highways, bridges, rail, transit, drinking water, stormwater, wastewater, electricity, airports, seaports and inland waterways. With planned investments in infrastructure currently totaling $7.3 trillion, that leaves a $5.6 trillion investment gap by 2039.