Air Date

January 14, 2021

Featured Guest

Thomas Smith
Executive Director, American Society of Civil Engineers


Infrastructure is a commonly-discussed yet often-overlooked issue. However, now more than ever, the country needs to reform its national infrastructure in the wake of COVID-19 and socioeconomic change.

“Infrastructure aligns with everything,” said Thomas Smith, executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “Also, in terms of coming out of this pandemic, economic recession, jobs, global competitiveness — [infrastructure] checks all of the boxes.”

With both short- and long-term benefits, extensive infrastructure reform could help our nation recover from the impact of COVID-19 and emerge even stronger than before, so long as we act now.

Modernizing Our Infrastructure Is Key to Recovering Economically and Uniting a Divided Nation

Smith stressed the importance of modernizing our nation's infrastructure, including “a broad infrastructure plan that can address jobs, combat climate change [and] protect our global competitiveness.”

“We think that [modernizing our infrastructure] is really key to our economic recovery, and also uniting a divided nation by giving people something that's inspiring — something we can work for.”

Smith provided support for this notion by recalling our nation’s history and initiatives that have worked in the past, like the transcontinental railroad, the interstate highway system, and other infrastructure changes that have mobilized and sparked pride in our country.

It’s Not Too Late to Rehaul Our National Infrastructure

Chronic under-investment in our national infrastructure could lead to serious consequences. Smith noted that if we continue the way we’ve been over the next 20 years, “the average American household will spend $3,300 a year due to infrastructure deficiencies.”

“If we don't act, we really think that by 2039, we are forecasted to lose over $10 trillion in GDP, including 2.4 trillion in exports,” Smith added. “Our national trade deficit will grow by 626 billion, we'll lose 3 million jobs by 2039.”

However, it’s not too late to make a change. Smith stated that experts are optimistic we can increase our investment infrastructure, jumpstart our economy and recover from the COVID-19 economic downturn. However, this requires bipartisan agreement and swift action.

“As we enter a new congressional session with a new administration, it's a natural place to find common ground that benefits the American people,” said Smith. “We know infrastructure is the backbone of our economy. It's time to pay our overdue infrastructure bill. And by increasing investment, we can upgrade the system, put people to work, [and] protect the GDP, disposable income and our nation's competitiveness.”