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Policy Statement 299 - Infrastructure Investment

 

Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 16, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on June 5, 2017
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 29, 2017

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports three key actions to address America's infrastructure crisis:

  • Increase Leadership in Infrastructure Renewal - America's infrastructure needs a compelling and overarching vision. That vision both stems from and feeds strong and bold leadership at all levels of government and in the private sector.
  • Promote Sustainability, Resiliency and Innovation - Consideration for sustainability and resiliency must be integral to rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. System-wide life-cycle cost analysis should be a part of every new or renewed infrastructure project. Both structural and non-structural design approaches should be considered. Funding should be allocated to explore and develop new and improved methods and materials for meeting society's infrastructure needs.  
  • Develop and Prioritize Plans to Sustain and Enhance Infrastructure - While infrastructure investment is needed at all levels and across all sectors, it must be prioritized and executed according to well-conceived plans that complement the national vision and focus on system wide metrics. 

ASCE believes that decision-makers should work to maximize the return on infrastructure investment. In doing so, they should follow established project and program management principles. They should weigh different funding and financing options such as dedicated user-fees, bonds, public-private partnerships, private investment, infrastructure banks, state and federal loan funds and others.  

Issue

America's infrastructure includes highways, streets, public buildings, mass transportation facilities, resource recovery facilities, air transport facilities, water systems, waste facilities, dams, levees, ports and waterways, and other public and private facilities. Although taken for granted, the nation's infrastructure is the foundation on which our national economy, global competitiveness, and quality of life depends.

The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card gave the nation's infrastructure a D+ and estimated that $4.59 trillion will be needed by 2025 to bring the infrastructure to an acceptable condition. Neglect of this backlog will result in even greater costs to the nation. ASCE's Failure to Act economic study concluded that economic benefits of infrastructure investment reverberated through every sector of the economy while economic losses that come from deferred investment become worse over time. The report concluded that from 2016 to 2025, every household in the nation will lose almost $3,400 in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies.

Rationale

In the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, ASCE laid out our vision for a 21st Century America that thrives because of high quality infrastructure. Infrastructure connects the nation's businesses, communities, and people, driving our economy and improving our quality of life. For the U.S. economy to thrive, we need a first class infrastructure system - transport systems that move people and goods sustainably, efficiently and affordably by land, water, and air; energy transmission systems that deliver clean, reliable, low-cost power from a robust range of sources; and water systems that reliably and safely drive industrial processes as well as the daily functions of our communities. Yet today, our infrastructure systems are failing to keep pace with current and expanding needs, while investment in infrastructure falters.

ASCE Policy Statement 299
First Approved in 1985

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