Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on February 10, 2021
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on May 5, 2021
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 16, 2021
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the establishment of a federal multi-year capital budget for public works infrastructure construction and major rehabilitation, similar to those used by state and local governments. The capital budget must be separated from non-capital federal expenditures.
The current budgeting process at the federal government level has a short-term, one to two year, focus. Infrastructure, by its very nature, is a long term investment. In order to provide a minimum acceptable and consistent level of infrastructure funding, a long-term approach is needed. An absence of long-term financial assurance severely constrains the ability of the federal, state, and local governments to complete and execute attain effective infrastructure investment planning.
ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure estimates that the infrastructure investment need by 2029 is $2.58 trillion. The current federal budget process does not differentiate between expenditures for current consumption and long-term infrastructure investment. This causes major inefficiencies in the planning, design, and construction of long-term infrastructure investments. A federal capital budget could create mechanisms to help reduce the constant conflict between short-term and long-term needs. It also would help increase public awareness of the problems and needs facing this country’s physical infrastructure and help Congress focus on programs devoted to long-term growth and productivity.
ASCE Policy Statement 453
First Approved in 1997