New Report: Cities Need to Invest in Transportation

U.S. Conference of Mayors

July 27, 2012

U.S. Metro Economies: Gross Metropolitan Product, and Critical Role of Transportation Infrastructure (PDF, 897KB)
A new report by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) shows that the nation’s cities and their metro areas continue to make steady progress toward economic recovery, while sounding a warning alarm that failure to dramatically increase investment in transportation infrastructure could cause skyrocketing costs to families, commuters and businesses, potentially doubling over the next decade.
The report examines the impact that population increases, employment growth, export expansion and economic output will have on metropolitan areas.
The report forecasts that by the end of 2012, 300 of the nation’s 363 metro areas will experience real economic growth (gross metro product), and predicts that over the remainder of the year the nation’s economy will see 1.4 percent increase in employment and a real GDP growth of 2.0 percent. Prepared by IHS Global Insight, the report also projects that household budgets will receive a boost from falling gas prices that are expected to decline to $3.11/gallon by the fall.
Over the next 30 years, the report shows that U.S. metros will grow in population by 32 percent or nearly 84 million people. More specifically, the report predicts that the population will grow by over 50 percent in 59 metro areas, over 75 percent in 21, and will more than double in three. Already, these regions are home to most of the nation’s traffic congestion, costing the average American commuter $713 annually.
Additional insights from the report are below: 
  • Metro areas are home to 90.7% of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP); 89.9% of wage and salary income; 85.8% of jobs; and 83.7% of population 
  • Metro areas have been responsible for 87.9% of the recovery in the nation’s real GDP and 83.6% of employment growth since the economy reached its trough 
  • In 2011, total real gross metropolitan product (GMP) grew by 1.7% as it expanded in 267 metros 
  • In 2012, real GDP is anticipated to grow at 2.0%, and the average of all 363 metros will be just below 1.8% 
  • Overall, in 2012, 50 metros will achieve real GMP growth rates of 3.0% or more, led by Austin and Houston among the largest. More than 110 metros will see growth of 2.0% or better and over 220 metro areas will increase their GMP by 1.0% or higher
  • Over the next 30 years, 92% of employment and population growth will occur in U.S. metros 
  • By 2042, 70 metros will have population exceeding 1 million, compared to 2012 where only 51 have achieved this feat. Also, by 2042, five metros will have over 10 million people – whereas just 2 currently have that population level 
  • Real exports and imports have more than tripled over the past two decades, going from a combined $1.27 trillion in 1990 to $3.75 trillion in 2010. This is expected to grow to $4.13 trillion by the end of 2012 and further expand to $6.04 trillion by 2020, as international trade becomes an even larger part of the U.S. economy