Tags: Creaking | Infrastructure | Economic | Recovery

Creaking Infrastructure Seen Hampering Economic Recovery

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 07:47 AM

Ramshackle roads, crowded waterways and other creaking infrastructure could slow recovery as businesses spend more time and money sidestepping roadblocks or paying for more expensive shipping, experts say.

Bottlenecks and other logjams could mean less business for the U.S., as other countries step in and get goods to international markets quicker and more efficiently.

"The good news is, the economy is turning," Dan Murray, vice president of the American Transportation Research Institute, tells USA Today.

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

"The bad news is, we expect congestion to skyrocket."

Crumbling or outdated infrastructure didn't pose too much of a problem during the global recession, when worldwide commerce slowed.

But now that business is picking up, expect problems to take more of the spotlight.

"I call this a stealth attack on our economy," says Janet Kavinoky, executive director of transportation and infrastructure for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, USA Today adds.

"It's not like an immediate crisis. It's something that's sneaking up on us."

Freight bottlenecks and other congestion cost the country about $200 billion a year, or 1.6 percent of U.S. economic output, a report by Building America's Future Educational Fund finds, the newspaper adds.

The chamber of commerce estimates such infrastructure snags cost the country $1 trillion annually, or 7 percent of the economy.

Trade is picking up in the U.S., with both imports and exports on the rise.

Commerce Department data shows the country's trade gap widened to $51.8 billion in March, up from $45.4 billion in February, the Associated Press reports.

Imports rose 5.2 percent to a record $238.6 billion thanks to demand for foreign oil, cars, cell phones and apparel, while exports rose 3 percent to $186.8 billion.

Meanwhile, the global economy hasn't even fully recovered yet, with parts of Europe mired in recession.

"Weak growth both here and abroad is inconsistent with the robust increases reported on both sides of the trade ledger in March," says Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. in New York, the AP adds.

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 07:47 AM
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