State and Local Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure Dwarfs Federal Share

Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young

May 27, 2011

The information provided here is for informational and educational purposes and does not necessarily reflect the opinion and/or policy position of the Georgia Municipal Association.

The federal share of spending on transportation and water infrastructure peaked at around 40% in the late 1970s.

Each year the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Ernst & Young create a report that examines the nation's infrastructure policy and initiatives. Key points from the 2011 report are:
  • The federal share of spending on transportation and water infrastructure peaked in the late 1970s.
  • Infrastructure spending as a share of GDP peaked at 3.1% in the early 1960s and declined to 2.4% in 2007.
  • Over 120 million more people will be added to the U.S. population by 2050.
  • State and local governments pick up most of the tab for infrastructure, especially for maintenance and operations.
  • The federal gasoline tax has been at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993.
  • There is an estimated $2 trillion need just to repair and rebuild deteriorating roads, bridges, water lines, sewage treatment plants and dams in the U.S.
Some recommendations from the report are:
  • Focus attention first on critical repairs and upgrades.
  • Develop a national infrastructure strategy, funding merit-based projects that support the country’s overall economic priorities.
  • Concentrate spending on the nation’s metropolitan areas and global gateways.
  • Provide greater long-term certainty for federal funding to support planning for capital projects.
  • Institute federal and state infrastructure banks to support project financing.
  • Phase in user fees to help fund infrastructure initiatives on a continuing basis.

More information can be found in the ULI and Ernst & Young report, Infrastructure 2011: A Strategic Priority (PDF, 4.22MB).

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit research and education organization whose mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services.