Manufacturers Find Infrastructure Funding Full of Potholes

Sept. 23, 2014
NAM study calls for $100 million annual boost to infrastructure spending to shore up US competitiveness.

The status quo won’t do for U.S. infrastructure funding if the country is to avoid a competitive decline, the National Association of Manufacturers warned today in a new report.

“The United States is stuck in a decade-long period of decline that will eventually harm job creation, future productivity and our ability to compete head-to-head with companies all over the globe,” said Jay Timmons, NAM’s president and CEO. “As we sit idle, our competitors are churning out investments in their infrastructure.”

In 2012, investments in roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure totaled $291 billion, of which governments contributed $181 billion and the private sector contributed $110 billion. The NAM study, conducted by Inforum at the University of Maryland, said an additional $100 billion was needed annually to bring infrastructure up to minimum standards.

But NAM’s study finds that the additional investment would have significant and rapid benefits:

  • Almost 1.3 million jobs would be created by 2015 and 1.7 million by 2017.
  • GDP would be increased 1.3% by 2020 and 2.9% by 2030.
  • Household disposable income would see a net gain of $1,300 per household by 2020 and $4,400 by 2030, measured in 2009 dollars.

Overall, the study found, for every dollar invested in infrastructure by 2030, there would be a $3 boost to the U.S. economy.

Previous NAM research has shown that manufacturers are concerned about the failure of the U.S. to maintain its infrastructure. In a 2013 survey, 70% of manufacturers said U.S. infrastructure was in fair or poor shape and needed a great deal or quite a bit of improvement.

Their concern is echoed by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Last year, ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+.”

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