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US faces £517bn infrastructure funding gap

While the US is struggling to fix its sovereign debt crisis, the economy will falter further without major investment in infrastructure by 2020, a new report has found.

A report released yesterday by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and conducted by the Economic Development Research Group of Boston has found that deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 870,000 jobs and suppress GDP growth by $3.1 trillion (£1.9 trillion) by 2020.

The report entilted Failure to Act: Economic Impacts of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure estimates that in order to bring the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure up to tolerable levels, policymakers would need to invest approximately £1 trillion between now and 2020 in the nation’s highways and transit systems. 

The U.S. is currently on track to spend a portion of that − £536bn − during the same timeframe. The infrastructure funding gap equals £517bn over nine years.

ASCE president Kathy J. Caldwell said failing to invest in the country’s roads, bridges and transit systems would have a dramatic negative impact on America’s economy.

“The link between a nation’s infrastructure and its economic competitiveness has always been understood,” she said.

“But today, for the first time, we have data showing how much failing to invest in our surface transportation system can negatively impact job growth and family budgets. This report is a wake-up call for policymakers because it shows that investing in infrastructure contributes to creating jobs, while failing to do so hurts main street America.”

The reporst also showed that in 2010, deficiencies in America’s roads, bridges, and transit systems cost American households and businesses more than £79bn.

If investments in surface transportation infrastructure are not made soon, those costs are expected to grow exponentially.

Within 10 years, US businesses would pay an added £263bn in transportation costs, household incomes would fall by more than £4,200, and U.S. exports will fall by £17bn.

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