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Failure to Act Economic Studies

  • Failure to Act: The Impact of Current Infrastructure Investment on America's Economic Future was released in 2013 as the culminating report on the economic impact of poor infrastructure in the U.S.

  • ASCE’s Failure to Act economic studies show the impact on America’s economy if we continue only at current infrastructure investment levels. Looking at current trends in infrastructure conditions and investment levels, this report series shows the economic consequences of continued underinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure, and, conversely, if we increase investment levels to achieve a state of good repair, the gains that could be made by 2020 in terms of:

      • Personal disposable income
      • GDP and exports
      • Costs to businesses
      • Jobs
  • 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

  • Failure to Act Economic Studies by Sector


    Investing in our nation’s roads, bridges, and transit systems will protect 877,000 jobs and $1,060 per year for American families by 2020.

    Airports, Inland Waterways, and Marine Ports

    Airport congestion is on the rise. If we increase investment in our airports, over $300 billion in GDP will be protected.

    Water and Wastewater

    By investing in our water infrastructure to make it more reliable, we can prevent $147 billion in increased costs to businesses by 2020.


    An additional investment of $11 billion per year between now and 2020 in our electricity infrastructure can protect 529,000 jobs and $656 billion in personal income.

  • For More Information

    To find out more about ASCE’s infrastructure initiatives or request a speaker, email:

    Anna Denecke