Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee on February 24, 2022
Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on May 23, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on August 31, 2022
Adopted by the Board of Direction on October 22, 2022
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the creation and operation of a National Infrastructure Bank. Such a bank would strategically leverage public funds and private dollars to invest in infrastructure—transportation, water resources, environmental, energy, telecommunications and SMART Cities infrastructure, and public facilities projects.
The National Infrastructure Bank:
- Should be capitalized initially by general fund appropriations and should be self-sustaining after an initial start-up period.
- Should develop financing packages for selected projects which could include direct loan guarantees, long-term tax-credit general purpose bonds, and long-term tax-credit infrastructure project specific bonds.
- Should not replace existing infrastructure funding and financing mechanisms, but act as a supplement to leverage additional federal, state, local, and private infrastructure financing.
- Should support projects that are resilient and sustainable.
- Should provide project preparation and technical assistance to ensure well-structured, viable projects.
Recent legislation, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, contains provisions to invest in infrastructure and strengthen communities’ resilience. However, while these recent actions represent positive steps, continued ongoing investment is needed to improve and maintain the nation’s infrastructure. Decades of underfunding and inattention have jeopardized the ability of our nation's infrastructure to support our economy and facilitate improved quality of life. The ASCE 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, ASCE assigned a cumulative grade of C- (up from a D+ in 2017) to the nation's infrastructure and noted need to increase the infrastructure investment from all levels of government and the private sector from 2.5% to 3.5% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025. As estimated by ASCE’s Failure to Act: Economic Impacts of Status Quo Investment Across Infrastructure Systems by 2039 deficient infrastructure will cost the average American household $3,300 a year (in 2019 dollars).
Legacy systems of funding that draw upon federal taxes and trust funds have proven inconsistent and inadequate. Private sector mechanisms, such as public-private partnerships, are an important tool but cannot alone fill the gaps.
ASCE is concerned with the accelerated deterioration of America's infrastructure, with the general reduction in investment for the preservation and enhancement of our quality of life, and with the maintenance of U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. ASCE has and will continue to support innovative financing programs that not only make resources readily available, but also encourage the most effective and efficient use of those resources.
Financing alternatives cannot replace a public commitment to funding. The IIJA, CHIPS Act, and Inflation Reduction Act provided substantial investment and forward-looking provisions to address our infrastructure needs, but more and sustained action is necessary. Financing by any method does not supplant the need for adequate user fees or other funding sources to eventually pay for projects.
ASCE Policy Statement 532
First Approved 2010
The other ASCE policies that relate to innovative financing are:
PS 382 Transportation Funding
PS 434 Transportation Trust Funds
PS 480 Water Infrastructure and Facilities Construction Funding
PS 496 Innovative Financing for Transportation Projects
PS 526 Public-Private Partnerships