Building a Stronger America: Addressing America’s Infrastructure Needs

INSUFFICIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: Years of inaction have allowed American infrastructure to degrade into a state of disrepair.

  • Infrastructure in the United States struggles to meet the needs of the American public.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave American infrastructure a grade of D+ in their 2017 Infrastructure Report Card.
    • ASCE gave American roads a grade of D, transit a D-, aviation a D, drinking water a D, and inland waterways a D.
    • American infrastructure has been graded near-failing since at least the 1990s.
  • One out of every five mile miles of highway pavement in the United States is in poor condition.
  • Over two trillion gallons of drinking water is projected to be wasted each year due, in part, to an estimated 240,000 water main breaks.
  • More than 50,000 American bridges are rated as “structurally deficient.”
    • These deficient bridges are driven across around 175 million times each day.
  • Most of the locks and dams in our inland waterways system are nearing or have exceeded their 50-year design life.
    • Nearly half of the vessels that use our inland waterways system experience delays.
  • Few U.S. ports currently have the deeper navigation channels that are required as ships continue to grow in size.
  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans living in rural areas lack sufficient broadband access.

WASTED TIME AND MONEY: Americans continue to lose time and money as a result of our failing infrastructure.

  • Average commute times continue to rise, with the average one-way commute clocking in at 26.6 minutes in 2016.
    • Commute times have increased every year since 2009.
  • More than 40 percent of urban interstate miles are congested.
  • The cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic delays added up to $160 billion in 2014.
    • 3.1 billion gallons of fuel were wasted due to traffic congestion in 2014.
    • Americans spent 6.9 billion hours in traffic in 2014.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that failing to meet our infrastructure needs will result in almost $4 trillion in losses to GDP, $7 trillion in lost business sales, and 2.5 million lost jobs by 2025.

IMPEDIMENTS TO IMPROVEMENT:  Infrastructure projects currently face a daunting number of barriers that are slowing improvements to our infrastructure.

  • A maze of red tape and oversight continues to hold back infrastructure projects, despite the fact that most infrastructure spending is not Federal.
    • Nearly all major infrastructure projects are subject to complex, Federal regulations.
  • The Federal government regulations and processes can play a large role in driving up costs and delaying the development of infrastructure projects.
  • Lengthy reviews hold up infrastructure projects for years.
    • The median time to complete an environmental review process of complex highway projects is more than 7 years, according to a 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
  • Federal departments and agencies are also subject to a range of restrictions that hinder the acquisition and improvement of Federal infrastructure assets.
    • The Department of the Interior is not able to use revenues generated from mineral and energy development on public lands for the maintenance of public infrastructure.
    • Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs has the authority to sell its properties but is prohibited from retaining the proceeds to reinvest in its medical facility infrastructure.

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