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NAM Study Details Economic Benefits of Infrastructure Investment

A new study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and conducted by Inforum at the University of Maryland offers a view into the economic benefits the U.S. economy would reap with a more concerted effort to address the nation’s infrastructure needs.

In total, the study finds that a targeted and long-term increase in public infrastructure investments from all public and private sources over the next 15 years will:

  • Increase jobs by almost 1.3 million at the onset of an initial boost.
  • Grow real GDP 1.3 percent by 2020 and 2.9 percent by 2030.
  • Create a progressively more productive economy, which, due to cumulative effects through time, will benefit from a $3 return on investment for every $1 invested in infrastructure by 2030.
  • Provide Americans an increase in take-home pay after taxes—a $1,300 net gain per household by 2020 and $4,400 per household by 2030 (measured in 2009 dollars).


The report also reveals a decade of troubling trends in infrastructure formation, such as a 3.5 percent drop per year in the volume of highway, road and bridge investments as well as further sharp decreases in mass transit, aviation and water transportation infrastructure investment.

Last year, the NAM sounded the alarm on this troubling trend by partnering with Building America’s Future to survey manufacturers about their perspectives on the state of infrastructure in the United States. Some 70 percent responded that American infrastructure is in fair or poor shape and needs a great deal or quite a bit of improvement.

“The United States is stuck in a decade-long period of decline that will eventually harm job creation, future productivity and our ability to compete head-to-head with companies all over the globe,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “As we sit idle, our competitors are churning out investments in their infrastructure. As this study demonstrates, substantial economic benefits result from a targeted and long-term increase in public infrastructure investments from public and private sources. Manufacturers call on Congress to consider this sobering data as it acts to fulfill its well-established responsibility of facilitating commerce in the United States. We need legislation passed to help fund transportation and infrastructure.”

“This research helps confirm what engineers and executives both know: The quality and quantity of current U.S. infrastructure is deficient, and these deficiencies are already hampering economic growth,” said University of Maryland Professor and Inforum Executive Director Jeffrey Werling. “We know that well-planned infrastructure investments can provide high, long-term returns to investment, and they can also boost jobs and growth in the short term. It is time to cut through the political smoke and mirrors to make a commitment to stronger and smarter infrastructure investment.”

For more information on the study, visit