ASCE: ONE MILLION JOBS AT RISK WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL REPAIR FUNDING
BY STAS MARGARONIS
One million American jobs are at risk if essential spending on repairing ports, waterways and airports is not forthcoming, according to a new Failure to Act report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
During a Washington press conference, Andrew W. Herrmann, P.E., president of ASCE, said that increased traffic congestion was one of the negative impacts:
“Congestion and delays lead to goods waiting on docks and in warehouses for shipment, which in turn leads to higher transportation costs and higher-priced products on store shelves. If we don’t close the investment gaps, everyone is going to feel the negative impacts because we are on course to lose more than one million jobs and more than $1 trillion in personal income by 2020.”
The result is an aging infrastructure for marine ports, inland waterways, and airports. ASCE says that between now and 2020, investment needs in the nation’s marine ports and inland waterways sector total $30 billion, while planned expenditures are about $14 billion, leaving a total investment gap of nearly $16 billion.
The report concludes that unless America’s infrastructure investment gaps are filled, transporting goods will become costlier, prices will rise, and the United States will become less competitive in the global market. As a result, employment, personal income, and GDP will all fall due to inaction.
The United States has 300 commercial ports, 12,000 miles of inland and intra-coastal waterways and about 240 lock chambers, which carry more than 70 percent of U.S. imports by tonnage and just over half of our imports by value. To remain competitive on a global scale, U.S. marine ports and inland waterways will require investment in the coming decades beyond the $14.4 billion currently expected. ASCE reports that with an additional investment of $15.8 billion between now and 2020, the U.S. can eliminate this drag on economic growth and protect:
- $270 billion in U.S. exports
- $697 billion in GDP
- 738,000 jobs annually
- $872 billion in personal income, or $770 per year for households
For a copy of the report, please see http://www.asce.org/failuretoact/