A new Department of Transportation report detailing the need to spend $101 billion annually, plus inflation, over the next 20 years to maintain the U.S. highway system illustrates the gap between planned and needed infrastructure investment.
Up to $170 billion a year would need to be spent over the next two decades if the U.S. wants to improve its infrastructure system, not just maintain it, according to the report. The release of the report comes after the Senate approved a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation plan, which by most accounts would maintain current spending levels.
“President Obama is committed to building the transportation infrastructure we need for tomorrow by putting people to work today,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “This report shows how important it is to get started now rebuilding America’s roads, bridges and transit systems.”
Obama’s budget for fiscal 2013 calls for spending $305 billion on highway programs over the next six years, a 34 percent increase over previous budget authorizations. But few transportation analysts expect Obama’s spending plan to take hold, particularly because of Republicans’ dislike of using money gained through the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Total government spending between 2000 and 2008 rose 48.4 percent to $91.1 billion, according to the 2012 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance report. The report will reside here when the DOT releases it digitally.