The United States is falling dramatically behind much of the world in rebuilding and expanding an overloaded and deteriorating transportation network it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace, according to a new study by the Urban Land Institute. The report lends global perspective to an issue addressed last fall by a panel of 80 experts led by former transportation secretaries Norman Y. Mineta and Samuel K. Skinner. That group concluded that as much as $262 billion a year must be spent on U.S. highways, rail networks and air transportation systems.
As Congress debates how much should be spent and where to find the money, China has a plan to spend $1 trillion on high-speed rail, highways and other infrastructure in five years. India is nearing the end of a $500 billion investment phase that has seen major highway improvements, and plans to double that amount by 2017. Brazil plans to spend $900 billion on energy and transportation projects by 2014.
The United States, the institute report concludes, needs to invest $2 trillion to rebuild roads, bridges, water lines, sewage systems and dams that are reaching the end of their planned life cycles.
* global estimates for infrastructure spending requirements over the next quarter
century total more than $50 trillion.