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America’s Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities

America’s Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities

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For decades the American infrastructure has been allowed to decay. Poor quality of wireless broadband access, deteriorating roads, unsafe bridges, and power interruptions are all indicators of a lack of investment in infrastructure.


The World Economic Forum has ranked the U.S. 20th globally in overall infrastructure rating. The American Society of Civil Engineers has consistently given the U.S. low rankings, including a “D+” in 2013. This has serious effects on our economies efficiency as it takes longer and costs more to transport people, goods, information, and energy across the country.


Climate change poses a daunting challenge for policymakers and business leaders as powerful storms cause billions of dollars in both damage and lost business. Taking proactive steps for preparing our country’s infrastructure is far less expensive than acting once the damage has been done. Every $1 spent in preparedness spending is worth $15 in relief payments after a disaster has struck.

This fact sheets details come of the challenges and opportunities ahead for America's infrastructure.
For decades the American infrastructure has been allowed to decay. Poor quality of wireless broadband access, deteriorating roads, unsafe bridges, and power interruptions are all indicators of a lack of investment in infrastructure.


The World Economic Forum has ranked the U.S. 20th globally in overall infrastructure rating. The American Society of Civil Engineers has consistently given the U.S. low rankings, including a “D+” in 2013. This has serious effects on our economies efficiency as it takes longer and costs more to transport people, goods, information, and energy across the country.


Climate change poses a daunting challenge for policymakers and business leaders as powerful storms cause billions of dollars in both damage and lost business. Taking proactive steps for preparing our country’s infrastructure is far less expensive than acting once the damage has been done. Every $1 spent in preparedness spending is worth $15 in relief payments after a disaster has struck.

This fact sheets details come of the challenges and opportunities ahead for America's infrastructure.

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Published by: The American Security Project on Aug 12, 2013
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www.AmericanSecurityProject.org1100 New York Avenue, NW Suite 710W Washington, DC
 Americas Inrastructure
Challenges and Opportunities
Ben Secrist  August 2013In Brie 
•
For decades the American inrastructure has been allowed to decay. Poor quality o wireless broadband access, deteriorating roads, unsae bridges, and powerinterruptions are all indicators o a lack o investment in inrastructure.
•
Te World Economic Forum has ranked the U.S. 20
th
globally in overall inrastructurerating. Te American Society o Civil Engineers has consistently given the U.S.low rankings, including a “D+” in 2013. Tis has serious eects on our economieseciency as it takes longer and costs more to transport people, goods, inormation,and energy across the country.
•
Climate change poses a daunting challenge or policymakers and business leaders aspowerul storms cause billions o dollars in both damage and lost business. aking proactive steps or preparing our country’s inrastructure is ar less expensive thanacting once the damage has been done. Every $1 spent in preparedness spending is worth $15 in relie payments ater a disaster has struck.
•
 A possible solution is to create an inrastructure bank with bonds to leverage privatecapital that would allow or public and private sector cooperation on upgrading andbuilding projects o “regional or national signicance”. With current low interestrates, latent private capital is looking or a place to invest with guaranteed and long-term returns.
 
2
 AMERICAN SECURITY PROJECT
 What is a Country’s Inrastructure?
 A country’s inrastructure is the interconnected network that allows or the movement o people, goods,inormation, and energy- it is generally, but not exclusively, publicly owned and nanced. Roads, bridges,railways, and the electrical grid are just part o the system that allows or a country’s economy to unction.In the years to come our leaders will ace many challenges in relation to how we deal with our inrastructure;rom climate change, to technological advancements, and paying or upgrading an inrastructure in great needo it during times o budget cuts. Acting proactively in preparing or what climate change may bring is ar cheaper than reacting to the damageonce a weather-related disaster has struck. While storms will cause certain amounts o unavoidable damage,steps can be taken to mitigate the impact.Business leaders and lawmakers can work together to authorize and und an inrastructure bank that wouldleverage special bonds to attract private capital. Not only would this provide long-term, guaranteed returnsor investors but upgrading a deteriorating inrastructure would make business more eective or the country as a whole. Creating an inrastructure bank has bipartisan support, and the extra unding rom a bank wouldgo a long way in retaking our place on top with the most eective and ecient inrastructures in the world.
Challenges and Opportunities
Te quality o a country’s inrastructure is a strong contributor towards its global competitiveness. Americas Interstate Highway System is one criticalcomponent our inrastructure. Passed into law in1956 under the “National Interstate and DeenseHighways Act” the idea was to provide moreecient transportation or men and materialsduring times o war and open roads or commercein times o peace. For years America’s highways were the envy o the world, helping to acilitate Americas rise as the singular global superpower.However America’s inrastructure has largely been allowed to decay over the decades. For its2012-2013 competitiveness ranking, the WorldEconomic Forum ranked the U.S. 20
th
in overallinrastructure rating.
1
 Te uture brings both opportunities and challenges or policymakers and business leaders on how to addressour country’s inrastructure.
 
3
Climate change, or example, poses an unprecedented and unique test or how we prepare and react to naturaldisasters and the impact they will continue to have on some o our country’s most populous and commercially vital areas.Opportunities or cooperation exist as well; both the private and public sector have enormous interests atstake in keeping America’s roads and bridges reliable as possible. With interest rates relatively low one option or bringing private investment would be an inrastructure bank that could provide a model or private business who are looking to invest their considerable amounts o latentcapital with long-term, guaranteed returns.
2
  A deteriorating inrastructure is not an abstract problem or the American people. Spotty cell phone coverage,crumbling roads, unsae bridges, and power interruptions are all symptoms o an inrastructure that deservesa reocus o our resources.
 Why Is Updating Our Inrastructure So Important?
•
Our nations inrastructure consists o approximately 4 million miles o roads, 600,000 bridges, 79,000dams, 300 ports, 19,000 airports, and many more interconnected systems.
3
 
•
For every $1.25 billion invested in transportation inrastructure, it is claimed that 35,000 jobs arecreated and supported.
4
•
By 2020, 90% o urban Interstate Highways will be at orexceeding capacity.
5
 
•
One-third o trac atalities can be directly attributed tosubstandard road conditions. Tat is about 15,000 peopleevery year over the last decade.
6
 
•
 Aging inrastructure costs business and amilies up to $130billion ever year.
7
•
By 2020, Americas transportation inrastructure decienciesare expected to cost the national economy almost $900million in GDP.
18
•
Rolling blackouts and ineciencies in the electrical grid cost the U.S. economy approximately $80billion per year.
9
•
Te U.S. spends approximately two percent o its GDP on inrastructure investment, Europe spendsve percent, and China spends nine percent.
10
•
Freight and intercity rail system will need $200 billion by 2035 to accommodate anticipated growth.
11
•
Demand or reight rail is expected to increase by 84% by 2035.
12
•
 Approximately 12% o the nations bridges are structurally decient.
13
 

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