Increasing spending on roads, bridges, mass transit and other infrastructure by $100 billion annually for 15 years would create 1.3 million jobs and boost household take-home pay $1,300 by 2020, according to a report commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers.
The Washington, D.C., industry group urged Congress and the White House to take a bipartisan, long-term approach to funding infrastructure improvements. Jay Timmons, NAM president and CEO, told reporters that the lack of investment is retarding economic growth and making America less competitive.
“What we can’t accept is inaction,” Mr. Timmons said during a conference call Tuesday. “This is a critical challenge of our time.”
Government infrastructure spending, adjusted for inflation, fell 1.2 percent annually between 2003 and 2012 to $379 billion, according to the report prepared by economic forecasters at the University of Maryland.
Part of the problem has been the failure of Congress to authorize stable, long-term funding for highway projects. Lawmakers provided a temporary solution again this year with a surface transportation bill that expires in May. The federal gasoline tax, a major source of funding for highway projects, has not been increased since 1993.
“We would like to see Congress, frankly, do its job,” Mr. Timmons said.
The study estimated that every dollar spent on infrastructure would create benefits of $3 by 2030.
“It is a true investment that pays off at a very high rate of return,” said Jeffrey Werling, executive director of the University of Maryland’s Interindustry Forecasting Project and co-author of the report.
Len Boselovic: 412-263-1941 or email@example.com