ASCE Issues New “Failure To Act” Report On Airports, Marine Ports, & Inland Waterways

On September 14, 2012  ASCE released its latest “Failure to Act” report on the economic impact of underinvestment in America’s infrastructure. In the report ASCE has projected a significant gap between planned investment and spending needs for the nation’s airports, marine ports, and inland waterways. With ports and inland waterways critical to our nation’s global competitiveness, ASCE’s report forecasts investment falling $16 billion short of the $30 billion needed through 2020. For airports, ASCE projects a gap of $19 billion from a total need of $114 billion. Failing to meet the gaps creates a drag on the economy by causing congestion and delays for U.S. businesses that import and export goods, leading to higher transportation costs and causing the price of goods to rise. Read and download the full report.

The fourth report in the Failure to Act series was released during two events in Washington, D.C., one for media members and another for Congressional staff. Both events were moderated by ASCE President Andy Herrmann, and joined by Virginia Port Authority Executive Director Jerry Bridges, and Rick Calhoun, President of Cargo Carriers. The event on Capitol Hill was highlighted by remarks from Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA), co-chair and founder of the Ports Caucus.

Previous Failure to Act reports have analyzed electricity, surface transportation, and drinking water and wastewater. Access the complete series at

ASCE Reports:

Aging infrastructure and congestion at our nation’s marine ports, inland waterways, and airports makes shipping more expensive, increasing the cost of goods. ASCE’s report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Airports, Inland Waterways, and Marine Ports Infrastructure finds that these costs reverberate through the economy, causing exports and GDP to fall, ultimately threatening more than 1 million U.S. jobs and causing a drop in personal income. With adequate investment, we can ensure that America remains competitive in the global marketplace, keep domestic business running efficiently, and maintain a lower cost of goods for consumers.

Key Findings:

Costs attributable to airport congestion will rise from $24 billion in 2012 to $34 billion in 2020. With additional investment of a total of $18.9 billion by 2020, plus the development of NextGen, the U.S. can protect:

  • $54 billion in exports
  • $313 billion in GDP
  • 350,000 jobs
  • $361 billion in personal income, or $320 per year for households.

Costs attributable to delays in the nation’s inland waterways system were $33 billion in 2010, and it is expected to increase to nearly $49 billion by 2020. With an additional investment of $15.8 billion between now and 2020, the U.S. can protect:

  • $270 billion in U.S. exports
  • $697 billion in GDP
  • 738,000 jobs annually
  • $872 billion in personal income, or $770 per year for households.

To learn more, the following are available for download:


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