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Report: US infrastructure needs investments to solve today’s challenges and capture future opportunities

A new report is outlining how investments in infrastructure can continue to drive long-term American competitiveness.

Kip Eideberg is the senior vice president for government and industry relations with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

“What sets it apart from other reports is that it’s not tied to current political cycles, it’s not tied to legislative calendars or which elected officials fill the country’s legislative chambers and executive mansions,” he says. “The purpose of the report is to recommend shared priorities for forward-looking national vision for our infrastructure to justify then the rigorous research and to use those priorities to craft high level strategies to inform policy change.”

AEM partnered with the Brookings Institution to release the report, Rebuild with Purpose: an affirmative vision for 21st century American infrastructure.

Eideberg tells Brownfield fiscal health is a policy recommendation from the report because the U.S. infrastructure system cannot be modernized if state and local governments don’t have the fiscal resources they need.

“We lag behind our global peers and competitors in infrastructure spending,” he says. “Many states spend below one percent of annual expenditures on maintenance which leaves an estimated $873 billion maintenance gap in state capital budgeting.”

He says federal lawmakers need to help state and localities overcome these fiscal barriers.

Eideberg says there is a lot of momentum for infrastructure, but a workforce is needed to take advantage of that progress.  

“The American workforce needs stronger pathways to middle-skill careers with family-sustaining wages,” he says. “Twenty five percent of all infrastructure-related workers are projected to retire or permanently leave their positions over the next decade and our industry and the manufacturing industry as a whole face a potential 2.5 million unfilled positions up until 2028 due to the skills gap.”

The report also calls for resilience and digitalization in U.S. infrastructure.

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