Study: Washington is ready for federal infrastructure investment, needs $190 billion in next 20 years

When Congress and the president are ready to invest in infrastructure, Washington is ready to receive, according to a new analysis

The Spokesman-Review reports,

Washington needs some $190 billion in infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years and must be ready to take advantage of any new federal program to help rebuild them, a coalition of business and government groups said Monday.

While they aren’t taking sides on how the federal government should help pay for new or improved highways, bridges, sewers or utilities, representatives of the groups said they will be lobbying the state’s congressional delegation to be active in upcoming discussions to develop new programs.

The Association of Washington Business, Association of Washington Cities, Washington State Association of Counties and Washington Ports said they have formed an unprecedented coalition to lobby for needed infrastructure money, even though there’s no definite proposal yet from the new administration.

The analysis also considers the returns on infrastructure investment. AWB writes that maintaining the foundation of a strong economy–“roads, bridges, telecom, water and sewer lines, power grid, ports and other basic infrastructure”– involves significant costs, adding:

Fortunately, the benefits are also significant, according to the report. Funding to meet Washington’s infrastructure needs would create an estimated 600,000-660,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The two-page overview of the study points out,

Infrastructure investment is a proven job-creator. Every dollar spent on infrastructure creates jobs, but the impact of spending doesn’t stop there. Infrastructure promotes business expansion by reliably supporting day-to- day business and industry operations…

Washington is poised for growth. With millions of new residents expected in coming years, in addition to major increases in trade, manufacturing, technology, and agriculture, resources for improving the state’s infrastructure are essential.

In documenting the needs and opportunities, the coalition has done important work. We commend them and look forward to Congress making the necessary investment.