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Policy Statement 453 - Federal Capital Budgeting

 

Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee March 15, 2918
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018

Policy

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.

Issue

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 attain effective infrastructure investment planning.

Rationale

ASCE's 2017 Infrastructure Report Card estimates that the infrastructure investment need by 2025 is 3.5% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 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 process for long-term 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

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