Our nation’s infrastructure remains severely deficient and underfunded. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, improving our highways and bridges requires $142 billion annually from all levels of government; we currently invest approximately $105 billion. For public transit, current investment totals $17 billion per year, while the cost of preservation and expansion needs is 50 percent higher.

Government reports in shortfall

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Government Accountability Office have documented over $600 billion in funding shortfalls over the next 20 years for water and wastewater systems. Pipelines and electricity transmission needs total $30 billion annually over the next three to five years.

The nation’s infrastructure strategy should include incentives to promote public-private partnerships.

The American Council of Engineering Companies, a business association for U.S. engineering firms, asks Congress to enact a bold infrastructure agenda that includes robust funding for a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund, innovative financing mechanisms and responsible regulatory reforms to facilitate efficient project delivery.

Prioritizing our broken roads

A national infrastructure strategy should emphasize on investment in existing federal infrastructure programs such as Federal-Aid highway and transit programs, the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and the State Revolving Fund to name a few.

Restoring long-term solvency to the Highway Trust Fund should be a priority. The user fee was last raised in 1993 and has lost 40 percent of its purchasing power. More than $140 billion has been transferred into the HTF since 2008 because of systemic funding shortfalls with real revenue solutions.

Wall Street meets Capitol Hill

The nation’s infrastructure strategy should include incentives to promote public-private partnerships. Tax-preferred financing (municipal bonds and private activity bonds) and the expansion of existing loan programs (TIFIA, WIFIA and RRIF) are an example of this kind of investment.

Investing in the nation’s critical infrastructure attracts strong, bipartisan support in Congress, and remains a key part of the President’s agenda. Come 2019, there will be a unique opportunity to pass major infrastructure bills to modernize the nation’s transportation, water, energy and communications systems, and enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace.