Failure to act will cost money, a lot of money

“The nation’s deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 870,000 jobs, and increase transportation costs by $430 billion by 2020,” according to a report conducted by the Economic Development Research Group of Boston for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). A press release for the ASCE states: “If investments in surface transportation infrastructure are not made soon, those costs are expected to grow exponentially. Within 10 years, U.S. businesses would pay an added $430 billion in transportation costs, household incomes would fall by more than $7,000, and U.S. exports will fall by $28 billion per year. For more on the startling numbers, the Washington Post reports here.

Weighing in on the same subject is a report, Repair Priorities: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads, by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense. The report found that decades of underinvestment in regular repair have left many states’ roads in poor condition, and the cost of repairing these roads is rising faster than many states can address them. Smart Growth America describes what this means for existing roads: “[B]etween 2004 and 2008 states spent 43 percent of total road construction and preservation funds on repair of existing roads, while the remaining 57 percent of funds went to new construction. That means 57 percent of these funds was spent on only 1 percent of the nation’s roads, while only 43 percent was dedicated to preserving the 99 percent of the system that already existed. As a result of these spending decisions, road conditions in many states are getting worse and costs for taxpayers are going up.”