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Study: Bad infrastructure could cost economy $897B

By , - Last modified: November 21, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Underinvestment in the nation's infrastructure could cost the U.S. economy $897 billion in lost gross domestic product by 2020, with the Mid-Atlantic states shouldering $83 billion of those losses due to increased transportation costs, according to a study from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The study conducted with TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based transportation research firm, analyzed data from the Federal Highway Administration to come up with the latest numbers that paint a grim picture of lost productivity, jobs and income due to deteriorating infrastructure.

Other findings of the analysis include:

• Loss of $28 billion in exports nationally due to increased transportation costs.

• Reduced national employment by 876,000 jobs.

• Personal income cut by $1,060 per year per family.

• Mid-Atlantic states losing as many as 279,245 jobs.

• Personal income in the Mid-Atlantic dropping by $300 billion.

Pennsylvania is positioned to reap much of these negative effects with 77 percent of $489 billion in commodities delivered annually by truck from sites in the state, according to the Virginia-based society.

The society is urging passage of extra infrastructure spending at the federal and state levels to increase transportation efficiency and reduce economic impact of infrastructure deterioration.

Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday in a speech to the Pennsylvania Press Club that he would be tackling transportation funding in 2013, but he declined to give specifics, according to published reports.

The governor is still sitting on suggestions issued more than a year ago from the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission. It put forward a plan that would raise about $2.5 billion for roads, bridges and transit, yet the issue was sidelined.

Central Pennsylvania business groups have made arguments similar to the engineers’ society that delaying broad, long-term solutions to infrastructure funding will only hurt the state’s economy.

Legislative leaders also have said they want to make it a priority in 2013.


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