Introduction

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which grades the current state of 18 of the nation’s infrastructure categories on a scale of A through F. In addition to the report card, ASCE published economic studies in 2011 and 2021; they assessed the impact of U.S. infrastructure conditions on the nation’s economic performance. Those “Failure to Act” reports documented the incremental and gradual decline of infrastructure systems with insufficient investment and the resulting impacts on American families and businesses. ASCE published a new economic study in 2024 – “Bridging the Gap” – after federal legislation and the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the financial picture.

ASCE economic studies – 2011, 2021, and 2024 – found that when we invest in our infrastructure networks, American families and businesses save money. Infrastructure is the foundation that connects the nation’s businesses, communities, and people. We need a first-class infrastructure system for the U.S. economy to be the most competitive in the world. Yet, our infrastructure systems suffer from decades of insufficient investment – from federal, state, and local governments – and the private sector.

BRIDGING THE GAP

Infrastructure Investments Save Money for American Families and Businesses

With the latest 2024 “Bridging the Gap” study, ASCE evaluated the impact of recently increased government and private sector investment. Congress passed the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which included more than $580 billion in new infrastructure spending from 2022-2026. Bridging the Gap findings compare the impact of Congress continuing to act with IIJA + IRA investment levels against a scenario with public funding snapping back to levels seen prior.

ASCE’s 2021 economic study, “Failure to Act,” found that sub-par infrastructure costs American families $3,300 annually over 10 years (in 2020 USD). The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and 2022 Inflation Reduction Act were positive steps forward, reducing that household burden to $2,700 (2022 USD). In 2026, if Congress continues to act with funding levels from those laws, American families will save $700 more per year from 2024-43 (2022 USD). Those investments also save money for businesses across the economy.

Economic Impacts of National Infrastructure Investment, 2024-2043

ASCE’s “Failure to Act” study estimated a $3 trillion infrastructure investment gap over 10 years. The new study projects a $3.7 trillion gap over 10 years, 2024-2033 – which drops to $2.9 trillion if Congress continues to invest at recent levels. That overall investment gap looks different for each infrastructure system, with gaps in surface transportation and water systems almost 100 times the investment gap in water transportation (ports and inland waterways).

Surface Transportation, $1.2 Trillion

Total Needs: $3.5 Trillion, Anticipated Investment: $2.3 Trillion

Energy, $600 Billion

Total Needs: $1.9 Trillion, Anticipated Investment: $1.3 Trillion

Drinking Water, Wastewater, Stormwater, $1.0 Trillion

Total Needs: $1.7 Trillion, Anticipated Investment: $0.3 Trillion

Water Transportation, $13 Billion

Total Needs: $45 Brillion, Anticipated Investment: $32 Billion

Aviation, $100 Billion

Total Needs: $300 Billion, Anticipated Investment: $200 Billion

How Can America Bridge the Gap on Infrastructure

Leadership actions from Congress bridge the gap left by historical underinvestment. But, these gap figures are not simply tabs for the federal government to pay. The private sector and state and local governments must do their part to reduce our investment gap.

FAILURE TO ACT
SNAPBACK
CONTINUE TO ACT
STATE & LOCAL GOVT

Dedicated, Predictable Funds + Regulatory Monetization

PRIVATE SECTOR

Rates for Life Cycle Cost + Public-Private Partnerships

INNOVATION & POLICY

High-tech research + adoption of best practices and policies