Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Decaying Infrastructure Costing Families $3,100 a Year, Engineers Warn

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Decaying Infrastructure Costing Families $3,100 a Year, Engineers Warn

Article excerpt

A leading organization of engineering professionals issued another warning Tuesday about the condition of the nation's infrastructure, saying that current investment trends threaten millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic activity.

A report commissioned by the American Society of Civil Engineers said under-investment stretches across the spectrum of American infrastructure, including roads, bridges, power lines, water and sewer systems, ports and waterways.

"Deteriorating infrastructure has a cascading effect on our nation's economy," said Gregory DiLoreto, ASCE president. "If we don't invest now, all Americans will wind up paying more in the long run."

While the report, "Failure to Act: The Impact of Current Infrastructure Investment on America's Economic Growth," was filled with figures in the millions, billions and trillions, one smaller item might resonate more: The spending deficiency will cost the typical household $3,100 a year by 2020 if present trends continue, it said.

The report, by Economic Development Research Group Inc. of Boston, sought to quantify infrastructure spending needs and compare them with existing funding trends. It said needs will amount to $2.75 trillion by 2020 while projected spending will be $1.66 trillion, leaving a $1.1 trillion gap.

Without adequate investment, Americans will suffer continuing economic losses from traffic congestion, higher shipping costs and electricity and water service interruptions. "It's happening right now," Mr. DiLoreto said in a conference call with reporters.

"Doing nothing costs a lot," said Janet Kavinoky, executive director of transportation and infrastructure for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "The deterioration of the nation's infrastructure undermines the economy, jeopardizes our safety, threatens our quality of life and harms the environment."

In response to a question, Mr. …

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