State and local investment in transportation, public buildings, water treatment systems, and other forms of vital infrastructure has fallen to a 30-year low. Reversing this decline is key to creating good jobs and promoting full economic recovery — and it’s an especially good time for states to do it, as we explain in a new paper.
The condition of roads, bridges, schools, water treatment plants, and other physical assets greatly influences the economy’s ability to function and grow. But rather than identifying and making the infrastructure investments that provide the foundation for a strong economy, many states are cutting taxes and offering corporate subsidies in a misguided approach to boosting economic growth. Tax cuts typically spur little to no economic growth and take money from schools, universities, and other public investments essential to producing the talented workforce that businesses need.
States’ neglect of infrastructure has serious consequences for the nation’s growth and quality of life as roads crumble, school buildings become obsolete, and outdated facilities jeopardize public health.
States — the primary stewards (along with local governments) of the nation’s infrastructure — should address unmet infrastructure needs now. Here’s why: