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Failure to Act Economic Studies

Better Summary Infographic

ASCE’s Failure to Act economic report series shows the economic consequences of continued underinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure, and the economic gains that could be made by 2020 in terms of GDP, personal disposable income, exports, and jobs if we choose as a country to invest in our communities.

The culminating report was released on January 15, 2013 and presents an overall picture of the economic opportunity associated with infrastructure investment and the cost of failing to fill the investment gap.

ASCE finds that with an additional investment of $157 billion a year between now and 2020, the U.S. can eliminate this drag on economic growth and protect:

  • $3.1 trillion in GDP, almost the equivalent of Germany’s entire GDP
  • $1.1 trillion in U.S. trade value, equivalent to Mexico’s GDP  
  • 3.5 million jobs, more than the jobs created in the U.S. over the previous 22 months
  • $2.4 trillion in consumer spending, comparable to Brazil’s GDP
  • $3,100 in annual personal disposable income

To download the full report, Failure to Act: The Impact of Current Infrastructure Investment on America’s Economic Future, please click here.

Or, to download our newest infographics to see how underinvestment hurts our economy, please click here.

Previous studies focused on surface transportation, water and wastewater, electricity infrastructure, and airports, inland waterways, and marine ports. More information on each of those reports can be found below.

For more information or to request copies of any of the Failure to Act reports, please e-mail 


The Failure to Act Electricity report shows that an investment in our nation’s generation, transmission, and distribution systems can improve reliability, reduce congestion, and build the foundation for economic growth.

ASCE Energy Infographic 


Water and Wastewater

The Failure to Act Water and Wastewater report shows that our nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is aging and that investment at our current levels is simply not keeping up the need.


Water Infrastructure Infographic

Surface Transportation

Our July 2011 report found that deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs and suppress the growth of our GDP by $897 billion by the year 2020. 

Surface Transportation Infographic


Airports, Inland Waterways, and Marine Ports

The Failure to Act Airports, Inland Waterways, and Marine Ports Report shows that aging infrastructure and congestion at our nation’s marine ports, inland waterways, and airports makes shipping more expensive, increasing the cost of goods.  

Seaports Summary Infographic