In a new federal report released last week entitled "An Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment"(pdf), the Department of the Treasury, Council of Economic Advisers outlined why now is an optimal time to increase investment in transportation infrastructure.

The short twenty-five page report is, according to AGC, "a sobering reminder of the tremendous economic costs of years of under investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure." Some of these sobering facts include:

  • America ranks 25 out of 32 OECD nations when asked about public satisfaction with the public transit systems in the world
  • America ranks 17 out of 32 with respect to satisfaction with our roads and highways
  • Almost 19 out of 20 Americans are concerned about America’s infrastructure
  • 84% of Americans support greater investment to address infrastructure problems

But the report is more than just an analysis of public support for infrastructure investment. The report notes that the United States is investing less in infrastructure than other nations. Significantly, we spend approximately 2% of GDP on infrastructure, a 50% decline from 1960. Other nations such as China and Europe, by contrast, spend close to 9% of GDP on infrastructure.

According to the report, now is the time to increase the nation’s investment in transportation infrastructure based upon the economic impact of transportation investment (or under investment as the case may be) as indicated. 

So long as the Administration is committed to making a significant investment in rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, there is good reason to support a plan recommending more investment.  There are plenty of critics, as noted in this feature by Atlantic Wire, questioning: Is Now the Time For  an Infrastructure Overhaul?   However, in the end, the debate is largely a political one … and commentary will remain just that … commentary. 

Image: squeaks2569 on Flickr