Infrastructure Investment Desperately Needed to Spur Economy

Infrastructure Investment Desperately Needed to Spur Economy

The nation’s infrastructure conditions earned a D+ after decades of underinvestment, according to the “2017 Infrastructure Report Card” issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The report states that a poor infrastructure “has a cascading impact on our nation’s economy, impacting business productivity, gross domestic product (GDP), employment, personal income, and international competitiveness.”  The report goes on to say a strong infrastructure is particularly vital for the commercial real estate industry which has a huge impact on the economic health of the United States.  How the government implements policies for a strong infrastructure, including roads, railroads, ports and water systems, is critical to the economic growth of the nation.

President Trump unveiled a plan in June to focus on ways to cut through red tape and improve efforts between the government and private entities. The President’s first item on the agenda is to reduce the regulatory burden on local and state governments. “We are here today to focus on solving one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately-needed infrastructure, and that is the painfully slow, costly and time-consuming process for getting permits and approvals to build,” he announced at a Department of Transportation meeting. The President specifically has called for $1 trillion in new infrastructure programs to create new jobs, and emphasized that much of this funding should come from the private sector.  He proposes using $200 billion in federal spending to help spur an additional $800 billion in private infrastructure investments.  The President will need the cooperation of Congress to pass and implement his infrastructure initiative.

While the nation’s infrastructure earned a D+ rating, the state of South Carolina faces infrastructure issues of its own, according to the ASCE report.  There are 76,250 miles of public roads in South Carolina, with 16 percent in poor condition.  Repairing these roads will costs each driver $502 per year. The ASCE reported that 10.3 percent of bridges are rated structurally deficient, and the water systems need an estimated $1.8 billion to improve drinking water.  The report found that 178 dams are considered to be high-hazard potential.   In addition, the state’s schools have an estimated capital expenditure gap of $90 million.   The ASCE report states that the infrastructure deficiency in South Carolina affects its ability to compete in the increasingly global marketplace.

Source: “2017 Infrastructure Report Card,” American Society of Civil Engineering

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