Infrastructure is the foundation that connects U.S. businesses and enables communities to thrive. Our roads, water systems, energy grid and more help drive the economy, support our quality of life and ensure public health and safety. Unfortunately, we have been underinvesting in our infrastructure for decades. In 2019, the U.S. spent just 2.5% of our GDP on infrastructure, down from 4.2% in the 1930s. From 2016 to 2025, we’ll underinvest in our infrastructure by $2 trillion, according to the 2017 ASCE Infrastructure Report Card.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made a difficult situation worse. A sizable portion of our existing infrastructure systems are supported with user-generated revenue streams. With the onset of the pandemic, commercial water use is down, commuters are staying off the roads and away from transit, and airports are virtually empty. Meanwhile, municipal and state budgets are buckling under unprecedented demands, meaning less support is available for parks, schools, and other publicly-owned infrastructure, precisely at the time we should be investing.
Congress should make infrastructure investment a centerpiece of its immediate response and long-term economic recovery strategy. Now is the time to renew, modernize, and invest in our infrastructure to maintain our international competitiveness.