The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) applauds President Joseph R. Biden’s American Jobs Plan, a truly historic proposal for modernizing and improving the nation’s infrastructure, said Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., president, ASCE. The society urges Congress and the Biden Administration to now work together to develop a comprehensive, bipartisan infrastructure bill that will set the plan in motion—rebuilding and modernizing our infrastructure systems, while growing the economy, increasing public safety, and creating jobs and more resilient communities.
ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found thenation earned a “C-,” up from 2017’s cumulative GPA of “D+”. This is the first time since ASCE began issuing the Report Card that the nation’s infrastructure has received a GPA outside of the D range. However, progress has been incremental, and 11 of the 17 categories received scores in the “D” range, demonstrating that much work needs to be done to improve the overall infrastructure network.
The nearly $2 trillion investment over the next 8 years in the Biden Administration proposal, including $621 billion dedicated to modernizing our surface transportation networks, $25 billion to airports, $111 billion for clean drinking water, $100 billion for broadband, and $17 billion to inland waterways and ports, will go a long way toward ensuring that our nation’s infrastructure continues to improve in the upcoming decade.
The focus is rightly on tackling the maintenance backlog for our transportation, water and freight systems, enabling “shovel-worthy” ideas to get across the finish line, ensuring new projects result in systems that are more resilient, investing in transmission lines to connect the grid, and reflecting that our infrastructure is a connected system that is only as strong as its weakest link. The recent tragedy in Texas has brought that concept to the forefront.
Beyond raising the grades, the investments proposed in the American Jobs Plan could result in long-term economic gains for American families and businesses. ASCE’s recent study Failure to Act: Economic Impacts of Status Quo Investment Across Infrastructure Systems, finds that continued underinvestment in infrastructure and the inefficiencies that will result will have a cascading effect on the economy over the next 20 years. In fact, ASCE estimates that the U.S. is set to underinvest in our nation’s infrastructure by $2.59 trillion over the next 10 years, resulting in increased costs for families, lost jobs and declining GDP. The American Jobs Plan would cut significantly into these funding gaps and ensure that the federal government is working with state and local governments to make these much-needed investments. As the nation looks to revitalize and jumpstart the economy, ASCE believes that infrastructure investment is the key to long-term recovery and prosperity, as well as providing access and opportunity to communities across the country. We look forward to working with the Administration and Members of Congress on this crucial, bipartisan, issue as the American Jobs Plan continues to develop.