California: Worst State in Nation for Infrastructure Spending

Los Angeles Traffic (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

California wins the booby prize as the worst state in the nation for spending money on infrastructure, according to the latest Visual Capitalist financial analysis.

With Americans spending a combined 600,000 years stuck in traffic each year, one of Donald Trump’s most attractive campaign pledges during his successful presidential bid was to spend $1 trillion to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and airports.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a United States “infrastructure gap” has developed at the federal and the state levels. They estimate that if the gap is not closed with increased investment, it could create a $4 trillion drag on GDP by 2025. On personal level, that works out to a $3,400 cost per household between 2016 and 2025.

The ASCE estimates that by 2020, the U.S. needs to put $1.7 trillion towards roads, bridges and transit; $736 billion to electricity and power grids; $391 billion towards schools; $134 billion to airports; and $131 billion to waterways and related projects.

Visual Capitalist found that 2015 deficiencies in surface transportation systems cost U.S. households and businesses nearly $147 billion, including $109 billion for vehicle operating costs, $1.4 billion in safety costs, and $36 billion in travel time delays.

Breitbart News reported that the ASCE in 2013 first warned that California had a $65 billion infrastructure investment deficit in providing an adequate level of public infrastructure for dams, waterways, airports, roads, bridges, seaports and tunnels. And in a warning that should have been heeded before this year’s near collapse of the Oroville Dam spillway, ASCE’s “Infrastructure Report Card” awarded a “D” grade for levees/flood control as California’s most neglected sector.

The state is only somewhat below average total infrastructure spending on a per capita basis. Virtual Capitalist gave it an overall rank of 33 — but that was only because while it ranked lowest in state spending, it ranked highest in federal spending.

With California in desperate need of emergency infrastructure spending to repair its crumbling dams and flood control infrastructure, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gov. Jerry Brown submitted a $100-billion infrastructure wish list to the Trump Administration.

Although he did ask for some roads and bridges, Brown requested funds for several new rail projects.

Democrats in the state legislature are currently working on a transportation and infrastructure funding bill, with a deadline of April 6.


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