Between now and 2020, investment needs in the nation's marine ports and inland waterways sector total $30bn, while planned expenditures are about $14bn. Similarly, with airports, between now and 2020 there is an investment need of about $114bn, while anticipated spending is $95 billion. The report concludes that unless America's infrastructure investment gaps are filled, transporting goods will become costlier, prices will rise, and the United States will become less competitive in the global market. As a result, employment, personal income and GDP will all fall due to inaction.
"Congestion and delays lead to goods waiting on docks and in warehouses for shipment, which in turn leads to higher transportation costs and higher-priced products on store shelves," said Andrew W. Herrmann, president of ASCE. "If we don't close the investment gaps, everyone is going to feel the negative impacts because we are on course to lose more than one million jobs and more than $1tr in personal income by 2020."
The nation's marine ports and inland waterways are critical links that make international commerce possible. However, with the scheduled expansion of the Panama Canal by 2015, the average size of container ships is likely to increase significantly, affecting the operations ant most of the major U.S. ports that handle containerized cargo and requiring both sectors to modernize. Needed investment in marine ports includes harbor and channel dredging, while inland waterways require new or rehabilitated lock and dam facilities.
"Strong ports mean more jobs and economic growth," said Congressman Ted Poe of Texas, co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PORTS Caucus.
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