Front Line: Infrastructure Upgrades Vital to U.S. Economy
20 May 2021
One of President Joe Biden’s first acts was to announce a $2.3 trillion bill to repair and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. The bill addresses what has become a perennial topic of debate in Congress, and one that has repeatedly been set aside for action at some future date.
It has been well-documented across the United States that years of neglect have resulted in roads and bridges in dire need of repair, outdated public transportation, subpar Internet service, and other critical infrastructure needs. In its most recent report card on the condition of America’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. infrastructure a mediocre grade of C-. The engineers estimate it would cost $5.9 trillion over the next decade to bring roads, bridges, and airports to a safe and sustainable level. That’s about $2.6 trillion more than what government and the private sector already spend.
Ryan Severino, chief economist with JLL, said Biden’s bill “pointedly aims to improve aspects of infrastructure vital to the performance of the economy including tunnels, ports, rail, airports, water systems, the electrical grid, and high-speed broadband. Less conventionally, it also aims to improve the quality of buildings, including commercial real estate, upgrade the U.S. supply chain, invest in research and development, and provide job training for workers.”