Every year, Americans spend a combined 600,000 years stuck in traffic, and Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, if you’re thinking that time could be spent a little more productively, you’re not the only one.
In fact, even politicians are taking notice of aging and insufficient infrastructure in the United States. Recently, President Trump has started mapping out his $1 trillion plan to rebuild the country’s roads, bridges, and airports – and it is worth mentioning that infrastructure spending was also a key component of Bernie Sanders’ platform as well.
A LOOK AT AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE
Today’s infographic is from HighTide Technologies, and it dives into the infrastructure situation in the United States, including a comparison of federal and state spending.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the United States currently has an “infrastructure gap”. If the discrepancy is not closed between what needs to be invested in infrastructure and what is actually invested, it could ultimately create a $4 trillion drag on GDP by 2025.
As a result, between 2016 and 2025, each American household will lose $3,400 in disposable income due to infrastructure inefficiencies.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED?
Should money go to roadways, airports, water systems, broadband networks, or rail?
The biggest challenge facing America’s infrastructure problem is where to get the biggest ROI from infrastructure investments. Putting a trillion dollars towards problems that don’t really exist would be a catastrophic failure to everyone involved, with the exception of any crony capitalists that find a way to profit.
One viewpoint on this again comes from the American Society of Civil Engineers: they figure that by 2020, the U.S. needs to put $1.7 trillion towards roads, bridges and transit, $736 billion to electricity and power grids, $391 billion towards schools, $134 billion to airports, and $131 billion to waterways and related projects.
But even with these kinds of targets in place, how the decisions are actually made is another potential issue. Infrastructure investments are notoriously hard to gauge and often run overbudget. They are also capital-intensive, constrained by regulations, and disrupting to daily life at a local level, where the investments are being made.
Trump’s current plan is to provide $137 billion in tax credits to create incentives for private industry to spend the dough – but it remains to be seen how this will play out to mitigate the above risks, while solving the most important problems at both state and local levels.