Washington, D.C. – Today, Business Forward Foundation released the latest update in its Answering America series, which helps local business leaders answer the questions their neighbors are asking about critical issues. Are we doing enough to fix our roads and bridges? explains that Washington has underfunded infrastructure for years, but can revitalize our economy by making sustainable investments and creating millions of good-paying jobs.
“The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives U.S. infrastructure a C- grade, and estimates the funding shortfall could reach $2.59 trillion by 2029,” explained Liz Fairchild, executive director of Business Forward Foundation. “The U.S. is falling behind our global competitors, and until Washington finalizes a deal, it will only get harder to catch up,” Fairchild warned.
“By 2039, inadequate funding could end up costing the U.S. $10 trillion in GDP and three million jobs,” Fairchild said. “On the other hand, making comprehensive investments now could drive our economic recovery and strengthen the middle class for years to come.”
In June, a bipartisan group of senators joined President Biden to announce an eight-year, $1.2 trillion plan to invest in traditional infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, and high-speed internet access. The American Jobs Plan, President Biden’s original proposal, allocated $2.3 trillion over the same period but identified a broader range of targets, including investments in schools, workforce development, health care, child care, and family planning.
“In order to build back better, Congress should follow Biden’s lead and match the scope and scale of the American Jobs Plan,” explained Fairchild. “The $1.2 trillion deal was — and remains — a strong starting point for negotiations, but as evidenced by last week’s procedural vote, there is an ongoing need to build support for a bipartisan approach. And the longer we wait, the more expensive the problem becomes.”
New analysis by Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics shows that the bipartisan deal, combined with investments laid out in the American Jobs Plan, would add nearly 2 million jobs per year, on average, and grow the GDP by more than $4.5 trillion. Moody’s also predicts that prices would remain stable because the plan is designed to ease inflationary pressure.
“Without a federal partner, local governments have been left to fund and plan investments on their own, which has been particularly challenging for Midwestern states with a disportionately large number of local governing units, like Ohio and Pennsylvania,” added Fairchild.
“Washington needs to take the lead and allocate enough funding so cities and states can think holistically about infrastructure,” she said. “The bipartisan framework is a step in the right direction. We can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to send a bill to the President’s desk.”
Read the report to learn more about the need for significant investments in infrastructure.
Read a recent blog by President of Business Forward, Jim Doyle, explaining why the bipartisan infrastructure deal is important to America’s economic competitiveness and how business leaders can help support its passage.
ABOUT BUSINESS FORWARD FOUNDATION
The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.