By David Harrison, The Wall Street Journal

May 10, 2016

This article was originally posted by The Wall Street Journal. 

Not funding the gap could cost the economy almost $4 trillion by 2025, group finds.

The U.S. needs to invest $1.4 trillion in infrastructure between now and 2025 and $5.2 trillion by 2040, a civil engineering trade group said Tuesday, almost double what the country is projected to spend over that period.

The report from the American Society of Civil Engineers paints a dismal picture of the country’s economy in the decades ahead unless local, state and federal governments dramatically increase their infrastructure spending. Funding gaps could cost the economy almost $4 trillion and 2.5 million jobs by 2025 and $14.2 trillion and 5.8 million jobs by 2040, the report said.

Poor infrastructure forces people to sit in longer traffic jams, leads to higher shipping costs and can reduce overall productivity, the group said. Last year’s five-year highway bill did not significantly increase funding levels.

“Our nation’s infrastructure bill is overdue,” said Greg DiLoreto, the group’s past president. “We are paying a high price for infrastructure that is deficient and beyond its useful life.”

In the four years since the last report, the group found the gap in funding for roads, bridges and transit had widened, even though road conditions have improved overall as government focus increasingly on maintenance.

Other infrastructure spending gaps, including for water, sewer, electricity, airports and ports have all seen their funding gaps shrink, largely due to higher funding that stemmed from recent congressional legislation.

In 2013, the ASCE released a widely cited “report card” on U.S. infrastructure which gave the country a D+.