Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
That the American Society of Civil Engineers wants more infrastructure investment is kind of like positing kids like popsicles on July afternoons. But the ASCE report out today "Failure to Act: The economic impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure" has some sobering-ly large numbers to back up its desire for more building of roads, bridges, and transit systems.
Chief among the costs is how much deteriorating infrastructure is affecting household budgets: $420 billion by 2020, or about $7,000 per family over the next decade. "Households will be forced to forgo discretionary purchases such as vacations, cultural events, educational opportunities, and restaurant meals, reduce health related purchases along...in order to pay transportation costs that could be avoided if infrastructure were built to sufficient levels," the report says.
The report says those costs come from lost wages because of time spent in congestion or on poor transit systems, and wear-and-tear caused on cars by rough roads.
On a macro level, those costs amount to 870,000 jobs or a $3.1 trillion suppression of the GDP before the decade is out. Those costs to the general economy come chiefly from productivity lost from poor or badly functioning roads and transit systems.
Have a popsicle, everyone.
You can read the report here.