This quick guide is intended to help manufacturers, their employees and all manufacturing allies have productive conversations with peers, friends, and family members about infrastructure. All data referenced below can be found in “Building to Win” or in other related materials.
- The U.S. is not investing in infrastructure.
Underinvestment in U.S. infrastructure worsens by the year. Infrastructure investment is only one-third of what it was in 1960.
- The current state of infrastructure can’t keep up with our economy.
More than 70% of manufacturers do not believe our nation’s infrastructure is positioned to respond to the competitive needs of a growing economy and ever-expanding cities and communities.
- Infrastructure can and should be funded without raising taxes across the board.
The 2017 tax reforms helped manufacturers achieve record levels of job creation, wage growth, investment and productivity. Increasing tax rates on small and larger businesses and phasing out deductions would have the negative consequence of costing 1 million jobs within two years, according to a recent study published by the National Association of Manufacturers.
Infrastructure investment can be funded through user fees, including reform to federal fuel taxes or registration fees, or through public-private partnerships, including qualified public infrastructure bonds and a national infrastructure bank. Investment by state and local governments will also help alleviate funding gaps.
- Investment in infrastructure would make the U.S. more competitive globally.
According to the latest information from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, China’s infrastructure investment is nearly five times that of spending in the United States and nearly double that of the next 20 countries measured by the OECD combined.
- Manufacturers’ productivity relies on infrastructure.
Modern infrastructure supports greater productivity and increases a manufacturer’s gains in efficiency. For example, if a community’s main bridge closes, manufacturers in the area could stand to lose hundreds of thousands—even millions—of dollars if workers miss just one production shift.
- Investment in infrastructure is directly tied to the health of the U.S. workforce.
Job Loss: Without immediate action on the infrastructure crisis, the U.S. will lose more than 2.5 million jobs by 2025 and more than 5.8 million by 2040.
Job Creation: It’s projected that $1 trillion in infrastructure investment could create 11 million jobs. Approximately 10% of infrastructure jobs would be in manufacturing, with specific needs for skilled workers in fields such as information technology and data science.
- Our quality of life, especially that of manufacturers, is tied to infrastructure.
From 2016 to 2025, families will lose $3,400 each year because of failing infrastructure. By 2026, that cost will rise to a staggering $5,100 wasted for each family, every year.
Improved infrastructure will provide manufacturing employees with better access to job opportunities and options for housing, telemedicine, shopping and recreation.
- Weakened infrastructure affects all major areas of U.S. transportation.
After decades of underinvestment, the gap between current spending and what is needed to revitalize U.S. transportation infrastructure alone has reached $1.09 trillion.
Priority transportation investments include: Highways ($713 billion); Airports ($128 billion); Ports and inland waterways ($15 billion); Public transport (bus transit system) ($90 billion); and Passenger and freight rail ($29 billion).
- Transportation isn’t the only type of infrastructure that is suffering.
Water: Communities across the country rely on clean drinking water and safe wastewater management systems. But with over 240,000 water main leaks per year, causing illness and costly damage, our water infrastructure is in desperate need of investment.
Energy: We depend greatly on the electric power grid and vast amounts of oil and natural gas. And this demand increases each day. Investing in affordable electric power and pipelines can save families and businesses money and create thousands of new jobs.
Digital: Americans are online more than ever, and manufacturing shopfloors are more digitally connected than ever. Our need for modern wireless technology and fast connectivity is at an all-time high. Investing in broadband infrastructure will improve our quality of life and keep our businesses competitive.
- We can turn this around and secure critical infrastructure investment.
All levels of government have a responsibility and role in the modernization and funding of U.S. infrastructure. While the federal government provides substantial funding for infrastructure, the actual investment decisions and execution rest with our state and local leaders.
Through persistent outreach to our officials, we can drive attention to this issue and secure the necessary funding to keep our country running and competitive on the world stage. Each of us can advocate infrastructure investment in our own community by simply calling or emailing our federal and local officials.