Report: Failure to invest in public transit will cost U.S. $180B
- In its The Economic Cost of Failing to Modernize Public Transportation report, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) said that failure to deal with the $90 billion backlog in U.S. public transit repair and modernization needs could lead to a loss of $180 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) from 2017 to 2023, 162,000 U.S. jobs, $109 billion of household income and $340 billion in business sales.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that $50 billion of the total backlog exists within the country's biggest transit systems in San Francisco, New York City, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
- The association found that when transit systems in poor condition break down, the immediate effects are that travel time costs rise for passengers and the systems lose revenue from lost ridership and repairs. Long-term repair costs take money away from the system modernization and expansion efforts cities must undertake to keep up with capacity demands and to create a thriving environment that will attract and retain job-creating businesses, the report said.
Industry associations like APTA have been ringing the warning bell about mounting U.S. infrastructure backlogs for years. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association has reported that approximately 54,259 of the nation’s 612,677 bridges are rated structurally deficient, and that it would cost into the hundreds of billions of dollars to repair them all.
Meanwhile, the American Society of Civil Engineers said it would take $4.6 trillion to tackle all the needed U.S. infrastructure work by 2025. The society also reported that more than 90,000 U.S. dams are an average 56 years of age and that 70% of dams will be more than 50 years old by 2025. The Association of State Dam Safety Officials said that it would take more than $64 billion to fix all the dams in the U.S., with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reporting that it would cost more than $25 billion to upgrade all the dams under its control.
These and other reports have helped generate a great deal of enthusiasm for the President Donald Trump's proposed infrastructure plan. Even though the passage of a bill is unlikely to happen before the November midterm elections, AECOM and other construction companies are establishing special divisions that will tackle future federal projects and merging or acquiring other companies in order to expand their current capacities.
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