As the Republican Convention is in full-swing this week, followed by the Democratic Convention next week, the CWC implores both parties to make America’s infrastructure a major column of their party platforms.
The economic and public health benefits of ensuring a clean and reliable water infrastructure cannot be ignored. As we have reported here many times, investing in water infrastructure returns nearly three times the investment in economic demand for goods and services. At the state level, the economic demand nearly doubles the investment. Federal investment of $1 billion in water infrastructure would provide state and local governments $82.4 million in additional tax revenues that can be used to greater fund infrastructure projects.
On top of the benefits, there is substantial need for investment in our water infrastructure. Not only have there been significant news-worthy infrastructure failures, but the reaction to those failures has not yet resulted in any tangible action. Estimates of the total dollar amount needed to repair, replace, and construct water infrastructure in America now top $3 trillion dollars. That number only increases the longer Congress waits to act. The American people expect their water infrastructure to work at home, at their job site, and for emergency services. Delaying any sort of investment is imprudent economically, but also dangerous.
Both parties provide lip service to supporting water infrastructure, but both will miss an opportunity to really make a difference if neither includes water infrastructure investment and construction in their party platform. Investing in water infrastructure is a clear jobs message, not just for the construction industry, but also for the economic demand that immediately gains access to reliable and clean water. Investing in water infrastructure is a clear environmental protection message as well. Investing in water infrastructure that expands capacity, repairs leaks and runoff, and cleans the water is good for the environment and for our economy. But let us not forget that water infrastructure is the foundation on which all other things are built and function. The American way of life would be substantially different if our hospitals didn’t have access to water; our schools would be very different if our children couldn’t use drinking fountains; and our economy would be very different if our factories couldn’t cool machinery and products with water.
We at CWC, in the strongest and most respectful way possible, recommend both parties include the investment in water infrastructure as a primary pillar of their economic platform, their public health platform, their national security platform, and their overall vision of America in 2017 and beyond.