We have a $1.4 trillion infrastructure funding shortfall between now and 2025, and a $5.2 trillion shortfall between now and 2040 according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). A big chunk of that, $1.1 trillion to be precise is for surface transportation alone. The remaining $300 billion is required for airports, inland waterways and Marine ports, electricity infrastructure, and water/wastewater infrastructure.
The ASCE’s “Failure to Act” report published last week is a damning statement of local, state and federal government’s inability to prioritize infrastructure spending, particularly as it has such negative consequences for our country’s economy.
As logistics professionals we know firsthand the effect deteriorating infrastructure has on our travel times and our bottom lines.
“As of 2015, estimated deficiencies in America’s surface transportation systems cost households and businesses nearly $147 billion. This included approximately $109 billion in vehicle operating costs, $36 billion in travel time delays, $1.4 billion in safety costs and $0.7 billion in environmental costs.”
The report concludes that:
“If this investment gap is not addressed throughout the nation’s infrastructure sectors by 2025, the economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP, resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025.”
However the report also states that the economic consequences can be avoided if Congress and the states invest $144 billion a year. Greg DiLoreto, the chair of the ASCE’s committee for America’s infrastructure, stated:
“For the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee, about three dollars per day per household, we can prevent the loss of jobs, lower incomes, and costs to business. The cost of investment offers a good return, as it protects the GDP, jobs, family’s disposable income, and our overall competitiveness.”
My take is that we can frame this in terms of the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee all we want, but will that create a behavioral change in our politicians? Somehow I doubt it. It’s a pretty frustrating situation, particularly as a relatively little investment now reaps huge economic performance dividends in the future. What don’t the politicians get?
I’m thankful at least that in my own sector of the logistics industry I’m somewhat shielded (not totally,) from infrastructure deterioration as I operate a freight rail terminal. All class one railroads own their own infrastructure and do a pretty good job of maintaining it. So next time you might want to consider shipping your goods by rail rather than long-haul truck. At least I can pretty much guarantee your goods will get to where they are supposed to go at the agreed upon time. Call me at (505) 908-1911, I’d welcome the opportunity of talking to you.