US: transport infrastructure investment declined 5% (Sep. release) / by Federico Villalobos

On September 1st, 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau released the construction spending statistics for the month of July. In terms of public infrastructure transportation (roads, bridges, ports, airports, railways, mass transit), spending continues to indicate a widening investment gap. 

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Investment decline by 5.8% at the State&Local level (Federal up 8%)

In July 2017, public investment in transportation projects (seasonally adjusted annual rate) declined to $112.6 billion (-5.5% versus $119.2 in July 2016) despite a negative yr/yr rate of -8.6% reported in July 2016.  Breaking down by goverment level, state & local construction spending was $109.6 billion (-5.8% versus $116.4 in July 2016), while federal investment increased to $3.1 billion (+7.8% versus $2.8 billion in July 2017). 

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Investment gap at 0.9% of GDP

Relative to gross domestic product (GDP), transport infrastructure investment was 0.59% (versus 0.64% in July 2016). The Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH) and the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the United Stated should invest in the transportation sector approximately 1.5% of GDP per year.  Thus, investment gap remains close to 1% of GDP (~US$192 billion). This numbers is higher than current total state & local investment (US$109.6 billion).

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On August 15th, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order seeking to streamline the public infrastructure environmental review and permitting process. However there is still no details on how the US$1 trillion infrastructure plan is going to be funded and financed.  If you are interested in more information please review  the "5 quick facts about US infrastructure investment needs article".