Infrastructure and Its Role in the U.S. Economy
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
The federal government is leaning toward the creation of public-private partnerships to finance much-needed improvements to the nation’s infrastructure, which is vital to the manufacturing sector as well as national security.
Mark Crawford, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q1 2018)
Infrastructure is a hot topic these days. President Donald Trump recently met with state leaders to discuss the implementation of nationwide infrastructure improvements. Infrastructure is a critical economic and social issue for the U.S. Not only does a modern infrastructure system improve economic performance and create jobs at state and national levels, it also improves safety for the American public.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 Report Card, the national grade for U.S. infrastructure is a D+ — the same grade the country received in 2013, indicating little progress has been made over the last four years toward restoring America’s infrastructure. For example, an estimated 17 percent of American dams — more than 15,000 — are considered high hazard, meaning failure would likely result in loss of life. About 11.2 percent of roads are in poor condition, resulting in vehicle damage, traffic delays, and billions of gallons of gasoline wasted.
Infrastructure is also essential for national security reasons, including being able to effectively support critical manufacturing industries. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified several manufacturing sectors that are especially important for national defense or response to threats and disasters, including the energy, iron and steel, power transmission equipment, aviation and aerospace, and railroad rolling stock manufacturing sectors — all of which must be supported by modernized infrastructure.