A report released last week released by the US Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers supports the development of a National Infrastructure Bank as proposed by President Obama last month.
Its first conclusion is that Americans want more infrastructure investment and cites statistics to support this assertion.
- In 2008, over 80 percent of the 59 transportation infrastructure projects proposed in local referenda were approved by the voting public
- 98 percent of the funds requested for these projects was approved by the voting public
- Americans’ satisfaction with their public transit system ranks 25th out of 32 OECD nations.
- Americans’ satisfaction with their roads and highways system ranks only 17th out of 32 OECD countries
- 19 out of 20 Americans are concerned about America’s infrastructure
- 84 percent of Americans support greater investment to address infrastructure problems
- Poor conditions of roads cost the average motorist who drives in cities on a regular basis over $400 a year
- A two adult household using public transportation could save an estimated $6,250 a year compared to a similar family that is unable to use public transportation
The report says that the average American annually spends $8,600 a year on transportation, one-third more than on food, and concludes that public investments which lower the cost of transportation would reduce transportation-related costs including car maintenance and fuel consumption.
Compared to other major economies the US underinvests in infrastructure and this affects its international competiveness.
- US 2 % of GDP
- China 9% of GDP
- Europe 5% of GDP
President Obama first proposed a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank in his presidential campaign that would invest $60 billion over ten years in "a world-class transit system, green energy technology, ports, roads, and high-speed rail."
The President's current proposal for renewing the transportation network includes
- $50 billion up-front investment connected to a six-year reauthorization of the surface transportation program
- National Infrastructure Bank
- Rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads,
- Constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of passenger rail
- Rehabilitating/reconstructing 150 miles of runways
- Upgrading the air traffic control system
The objectives of the National Infrastructure Bank is to increase investment in infrastructure by attracting private capital, secondly, to implement a merit-based selection process for infrastructure projects, and thirdly to encourage investments in multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional infrastructure projects.
- 61 % of the jobs in the construction sector
- 12 % in the manufacturing sector
- 7 % in retail trade
The report estimates that 90 percent of the jobs in the three sectors most affected by infrastructure spending would be middle class jobs.