Infrastructure represents the foundation to modern American life. It encompasses clean water, roads, bridges, sewage, sanitation, ports, levees, energy transmission and other structures that make our lives easier. Unfortunately, much of the infrastructure built 40-50 years ago is nearing "end-of-life." This means repairs, replacement, upgrades, and overall maintenance needs to be done. That costs money... a lot of money.
In 2014, federal, state, and local spending on infrastructure amounted to $416 billion. The majority of that amount covered transportation needs in the form of roadwork and bridge repairs. That seems like a lot of money, but isn't enough. Cost of materials has risen to the point where the same amount spent on infrastructure as a percent of GDP (roughly 2.7%) yields far less than it did 15 years ago, nearly 10% less. When you add the recent recession into the mix, a time when all levels of government avoided spending deemed "unnecessary," you realize America's infrastructure is on the decline. Data from the World Bank Logistics Performance Index and the World Economic Forum Competitive Index further proves this to be the case.
My goal is to change that. With the help of my economic policies surrounding taxes, healthcare, and intellectual property, there is a significant amount of additional federal revenue that will be made available to us- nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years. The majority of that money I plan on putting towards infrastructure and clean energy, nearly $1.4 trillion. That amount augments- not replaces- current federal, state, and local spending. If levels remain constant, we are possibly looking at a $5 trillion infrastructure and energy plan over the next 10 years. Many of the maintenance backlogs can be eliminated while road and bridge needs are addressed in a major way.
On top of the typical infrastructure topics, I also propose a national gigabit fiber network. Current broadband speeds are abysmal; less than 25% of Americans have 15Mbps or faster internet connections. A gigabit fiber network across the country- including all the rural areas and places up in mountains- will provide a major avenue for business and technology growth. New opportunities will emerge that provide benefit to all Americans.
Finally, I discuss the potential for public-private partnerships (PPP's). While they are not ideal for every aspect of infrastructure investment, PPP's can- and should- be included in infrastructure buildout where applicable. They benefit both parties, providing additional funds for infrastructure that benefits the public while opening up revenue streams for private firms. Frameworks to take advantage of PPP's need to be constructed or updated at the state and local levels to ensure projects run smoothly, efficiently, and are as transparent as possible.