This week President Obama announced a $50 billion infrastructure plan to improve the nation’s roads, railways and runways over the next six years. The plan also lays out long-term plans for America’s infrastructure by developing an infrastructure bank, expanding environmental sustainability and integrating a high-speed program over the next generation.
The announcement couldn’t come at a better time. Data released last week shows that construction spending fell to a 10-year low in July and the country lost 54,000 jobs in August.
Infrastructure investment can improve both these figures. According to federal figures, every $1 billion invested in infrastructure can create about 35,000 jobs and fuel $6.2 billion in economic activity.
When President Obama took office, one of his first promises was to put Americans to work by repairing crumbling infrastructure.
Roughly $230 billion worth of his economic stimulus plan was allocated to infrastructure, but only about $66 billion had been paid out by mid-August, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Where is the money going? California, hard hit by the recession, currently has 8,000 approved projects valued at $25 billion, while Texas has 3,000 projects ($14.6 billion) and New York has 3,500 projects ($12.7 billion). In all, there are nearly 80,000 infrastructure stimulus projects approved or under way across the U.S., according to Recovery.org.
Measuring the impact of another $50 billion will take some time as the President’s plan is intended to take six years. However, with our nation’s infrastructure investment needs estimated to be over $2 trillion, every little bit counts.