The Cost of Our Deteriorating Transportation Infrastructure

A new report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers looks not only at the poor state of the United States' surface transportation infrastructure, but also at the effects of this disrepair on the American economy as a whole. It highlights these costs on the economic well being of both businesses and households, and looks at the implications of letting recent patterns in infrastructure investment continue:

In 2040, America’s projected infrastructure deficiencies in a trends extended scenario are expected to cost the national economy more than 400,000 jobs. Approximately 1.3 million more jobs could exist in key knowledge-based and technology-related economic sectors if sufficient transportation infrastructure were maintained. These losses are balanced against almost 900,000 additional jobs projected in traditionally lower-paying service sectors of the economy that would benefit by deficient transportation (such as auto repair services) or by declining productivity in domestic service related sectors (such as truck driving and retail trade).

If present trends continue, by 2020 the annual costs imposed on the U.S. economy by deteriorating infrastructure will increase by 82% to  $210 billion, and by 2040 the costs will have increased by 351% to $520 billion (with cumulative costs mounting to $912 billion and $2.9 trillion by 2020 and 2040, respectively).

This is the first of four projected reports, with future volumes to examine water, wastewater, energy, and airport and marine port infrastructure.