One of the many issues to have been largely left out of this year's presidential debates, America's growing infrastructure deficit (twice the size of the federal budget deficit) is unlikely to be addressed anytime soon by a federal government unable or unwilling to discuss trillions of dollars of new spending, reports Ashley Halsey III. In addition to the billions of dollars needed to replace aging roads and bridges, $30 billion is needed for the nation's ports, $107 is needed for the electrical grid, and $635 billion is needed to fix waste and drinking water systems.
"We see an expectation in the foreseeable future for reduced federal funding," said Geoffrey E. Buswick, the analyst who wrote a recent Standard & Poor's report on the subject. "The longer there is a tepid economic recovery, the more difficult it is to raise rates. There's already a gap in funding and it's only going to get greater, so it's the longer term that we're more worried about than the shorter term."
While some of the funding for necessary infrastructure repairs may come from private investors, local users and taxpayers are increasingly being targeted to fill the federal shortfall.