65% of U.S. manufacturers say infrastructure won’t meet economical demands in next decade

| September 17, 2013

America’s infrastructure is not improving quickly enough to continue to meet the needs of businesses, according to a report released today by Building America’s Future (BAM) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The report, “Infrastructure: Essential to Manufacturing Competitiveness,” reflects the views of U.S. manufacturers who participated in surveys about national infrastructure and its effects on American businesses, as well as figures from BAM’s 2012 “Falling Apart and Falling Behind” report.

According to the report, the majority of participating U.S. manufacturers believe America’s transportation infrastructure system is “old, inefficient and badly in need of modernization.

  • 70 percent of manufacturers said the system is “in fair or poor shape and needs a gread deal or quite a bit of improvement.

  • 70 percent said roads are continuing to deteriorate.

  • 65 percent said infrastructure will likely not meet the demands of the economy in the next  10 to 15 years.

The report also notes that manufacturers do not think U.S. infrastructure keeps up with business needs. Manufacturers said these sectors are getting worse:

  • Roads (70 percent)

  • Energy (42 percent)

  • Aviation (36 percent)

  • Mass Transit (28 percent)

  • Drinking Water/Wastewater (24 percent)

  • Rail (21 percent)

  • Ocean/Water (18 percent)

The report points to a lack of investment as a major problem with infrastructure. According to the report:

  • 12 percent of America’s GDP is produced by manufacturing

  • 1.7 percent of America’s GDP is invested in U.S. infrastructure

  • $1.8 trillion in goods and services is transported annually

The U.S. is not only failing to meet business needs within its borders; it is also falling behind other countries. The U.S. was not even in the top 10 among a world infrastructure ranking for 2012 global competitiveness.

The U.S. ranked as the 14th country, with countries like China, Germany, France, Korea and more providing a more competitive infrastructure. (Canada didn’t fare much better; the country was ranked as the 13th most competitive.)

America is also falling behind in port capacity. Shanghai, China, alone ships a higher port volume than the top eight U.S. ports combined.

Additionally, the report notes that U.S. port volume is expected to double by 2020, freight tonnage is expected to increase by 88 percent by 2035 and passenger miles traveled is expected to increase by 80 percent in 30 years. In order to support those increases, American infrastructure will need improvements.

The report adds that NAM members said it is important to fund transportation infrastructure improvements.

  • 67 percent said “all options to fund investments in maintaining and building infrastructure should be on the table.

  • 61 percent said they are “potentially willing to pay more in taxes, toll and fees” if the revenues will go toward specific improvements.

An overview of report is available here.

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