Thursday, October 4, 2012
American Society of Civil Engineer report says port infrastructure improvements are crucial to export growth
Keeping U.S. ports competitive and preparing them for the newest breed of VLCCs will cost more than $30 billion by 2020, twice what is being spent today, according to a September report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The ASCE has commissioned a series of reports on the difference between current infrastructure spending and the funds needed to repair or replace systems at the end of their lifespan.
"To remain globally competitive, this is a critical time for investment," said Andrew W. Herrmann, president of ASCE.
The report asserted it is crucial to improve 300 commercial port facilities, dredge deeper channels, replace dams and locks on 12,000 miles of inland waterway, and relieve traffic congestion around ports. Without massive new investments, the report estimated U.S. export losses of $270 billion by 2020 and a $697 billion drop in gross domestic product. That loss of production corresponds to 738,000 jobs, according to the report.
The need for port investment is particularly acute on the East Coast. Norfolk and Baltimore can accommodate the new megaships that will call after the Panama Canal expansion, but at this point few others can, although dredging efforts are underway at several East Coast ports. New York has a concern all its own – the Bayonne Bridge needs to be elevated in order for the bigger ships to pass through.
For more of the Washington Post story: washingtonpost.com
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