During Infrastructure Week, let's remember the importance of good infrastructure to small businesses.
Here in Kentucky, our state’s small businesses employ nearly 700,000 people, which is 45.7% of the workforce. Our small business, Advanced Electrical Systems, Inc. (AES), relies on close to 300 employees who power our projects, from running two million feet of wire in the new Omni Louisville Hotel to installing LED lighting for Toyota’s new paint facility.
Nationwide, small businesses create over 60% of the net new jobs and account for just under 50% of private sector employment. Small businesses rightly deserve recognition for their role in driving our economy, but I have great hope that serious attention will be paid to the need for investment in our nation’s infrastructure. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the United States faces an infrastructure deficit of $2.0 trillion over the next 10 years. That means structurally deficient bridges, aging water system, and power disruptions, and much more. A crumbling infrastructure translates into headwinds for main street small businesses and for our economy. ASCE’s study, Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future, identified a $4.0 trillion loss to our gross domestic product and costs American families $3,400 annually.
The good news is that there is bipartisan acknowledgment of the infrastructure crisis. We know that every $1 billion invested in infrastructure creates 28,500 direct and indirect jobs. As a contractor who has worked on numerous state projects, I know first hand that infrastructure improvements can provide as much as an eight-to-one return on investment.
Now is the time to support small business and take action on removing a serious barrier to further growth and prosperity. I urge all lawmakers to come together in a bipartisan fashion and take action to address this infrastructure crisis and move forward infrastructure legislation that will allow main street business and their communities to thrive.