Oftentimes when people hear about American’s underlying infrastructure and need for massive improvements, they typically don’t know what that truly entails. However, states and cities across the United States face an abundance of demographic, environmental and economic challenges that makes it important for both the private and public business sectors to reevaluate the way business is conducted. While solutions vary, one of the things that can alleviate the challenges the private and public sector faces is reliable and efficient infrastructure.
For instance, steel, fiber optic cable and concrete are regarded as being critical building blocks for the economy. Efficient and reliable infrastructure helps to connect employees to their workplace, encourage trade, and create job opportunities for communities that have low employment rates. Good infrastructure helps to protect citizens from unpredictable weather phenomenon. Infrastructure doesn’t just consist of roads and railways alone, a country’s infrastructure also consists of public transportation availability, buildings, parks, telecommunications systems, freight railroads and broadband networks. When you look at the totality of what infrastructure encompasses, it comes as no surprise that over 14 million Americans have occupations that are directly tied to infrastructure. This entails professionals such as airline pilots, electrical powerline professionals, locomotive engineers and construction laborers. As the summer season approaches, chances are that you’ve heard about the need to invest in the country’s infrastructure. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about the economy and the underlying reason why America needs massive investments in its infrastructure.
1) Drop In GDP/ Loss Of Employment
One of the reasons why America needs massive investments in its infrastructure is the fact that the GDP is expected to drop by as much as $4 trillion if the needs of the infrastructure aren’t met. This is based on a report that was released by the American Society of Civil Engineers back in 2017. Experts also predict that this number could increase to $14 trillion by the year 2040, if no action is taken on improving the country’s infrastructure. Interestingly enough, experts also suggest that a lack of action can have a negative impact on American families directly. It is believed that between the years of 2016 – 2025, the average household will lose as much as $3,400 on a yearly basis as a result of infrastructure deficiencies . Additionally, over 2.5 million Americans may lose their jobs by 2025 if investments are not made.
As more and more people acquire vehicles, some bridges are no longer able to handle a large influx of traffic than they were initially designed to hold. Statistics show that in recent years, people have sustained injuries and died as a result of overpass and bridge collapses. A report that was released by the American Road and Transportation Builder Association, showed that over 50,000 bridges are categorized as being critically deficient and in dire need of being replaced. Based on the fact that the country has over 450,000 bridges, this indicates that over 9% of the country’s total number of bridges are in dire need of critical repairs. According to CNN, these structurally deficient bridges affect over 174 million people who cross it on a daily basis. Many of the bridges that are in need of repairs such as New York City’s famous Brooklyn Bridge are also landmarks. So in a way, investment within the country’s infrastructure is needed to preserve some of the country’s oldest landmarks.
3) Overloaded Ports
Investments need to be made in the country’s import and export infrastructure as well. Even though exports and imports play a major role in the country’s GDP, data shows that all major ports are dealing with double the amount of traffic they were initially designed to handle. Therefore, a massive overhaul is needed to handle the large number of ships that are coming in and out the country,
4) Restore Highways
Statistics indicate that highway conditions was at its highest around 2010. The Department of Transportation proclaimed that it would cost over $180 billion to repair the country’s highway system to 2010 levels. As it stands, the American Society of Civil Engineers, gave the interstate highways system of the country, a D+ grade back in its 2019 report. An efficient interstate highway can help to stimulate an economic productivity. Reliable highway infrastructure enables business to lower transportation expenses which in turn, lowers operating expenses, and increases profits and productivity. It’s also important to note that the Federal Highway Administration proclaims that almost a third (14,300) of traffic fatalities occur as a result of obsolete road designs and substandard road conditions.
5) May Run Out
As it stands, approximately 25% of infrastructure funding comes directly from the government. While this number may seem significant, it’s actually less than what the government spent in the 1970s, which was approximately 38% of total spending. Besides this, back in 1956 the Highway Trust Fund was created in an effort to maintain the health of the country’s highways system. The fund is facing insolvency and is expected to run out of cash if major changes aren’t made within the financial structure of the fund.
6) Update Electrical Grid
Chances are that you’ve seen what happened in Texas, when an electric grid became overburdened. In today’s world more and more people rely on technology for things such as business and even health. Losing power for any amount of time can cause significant hardships and financial losses. In fact, experts estimate that over 80 billion get lost every year as a result of the damages that blackouts cause.
7) Unsafe Dams
Major investments can help to restore many over the 4,000 dams that the American Society of Civil Engineers classified as being ‘unsafe’. To put things in retrospect, over 1,300 of these dams are regarded as being highly hazardous because if they collapse, they could threaten the lives of millions of people who live nearby. Even more alarming is the fact that over 30% of all dam failures since 1874 occurred during the last 30 years. What this indicates is that the rate of failures of dams are increasing at a neck break speed.