2 3 From the Editor Al Krulick Editor-in-Chief N Editor-in-Chief Al Krulick Associate Editor Lorie Steiner Director of Advertising Lauren Blackwell Research Directors Paul Payne Brendan McElroy Josh Conklin Lisa Curry Joanna Whitney Digital Strategist Scott Mosquera Alyson Casey Director of Administration Creative Director Dana Long Vice President of Business Development Erin O’Donoghue Vice President of Publishing Andre Barefield CGO Alexander Wynne-Jones COO Brian Andersen Executive Publisher / CEO Marcus VandenBrink USA Canada Caribbean Oceania Email for all inquiries: info@businessviewmagazine.com WWW.BUSINESSVIEWMAGAZINE.COM 12559 New Brittany Blvd Fort Myers, 33907 239.220.5554 CONTACT US Next up – Infrastructure? It’s no secret that our nation’s infra- structure facilities are aging, under maintained, and in desperate need of modernization. And one reason is because over the last several decades, the U.S. has significantly underin- vested in this important segment of our national life. From 1950 to 1970, we devoted three percent of GDP to spending on infrastructure – roads, ports, tunnels, bridges, levees, water supply, sewers and wastewater plants, railroads, air transport, the electrical grid, etc. Since 1980, however, we have been spending under two percent, re- sulting in a huge accumulated shortfall of needed maintenance and upkeep. Inflation-adjusted spending for high- ways at all levels of the federal system, for example, has fallen by 19 percent since 2002. Indeed, the World Econom- ic Forum ranks the United States – the planet’s richest nation - only 12th in the world for the overall quality of its infrastructure. And things can only get worse. According to a report by the Amer- ican Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. economy is expected to lose just under $4 trillion in GDP between 2016 and 2025 if infrastructure investment gaps are not addressed. This could hit $14 trillion by 2040 if the nation’s aging roads, railways, and bridges are left to decay even further. The report also estimates that losses to business sales will amount to $7 trillion by 2025, while by 2040, they could soar as high as $23.3 trillion. Crumbling infrastruc- ture will also have a detrimental effect on U.S. families’ disposable household income. Between 2016 and 2025, each American household will lose $3,400, every year, due to infrastructure defi- ciencies. The severe economic impact will also cost some 2.5 million jobs by 2025, and that number could reach 5.8 million by 2040. So, in order to be economically competitive in today’s world, it is understood that adequate invest- ment in our infrastructure is critical and that closing the infrastructure investment gap would have several beneficial consequences, including the enhancement of economic growth by decreasing overhead costs to business while efficiently moving people and goods, as well as boosting the creation of high-wage jobs for workers with modest levels of formal education. An additional benefit would be the reduc- tion of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and climate change. This month, the Trump administra- tion is planning to roll out its infra- structure agenda, which will propose spending $200 billion, over the next decade, in federal seed money, along with significant permit reform and other incentives, in an attempt to leverage another $800 billion worth of infrastructure investment from private entities and local and state govern- ments. While some tout these private/pub- lic partnerships as a useful tool for financing infrastructure projects (see this month’s Executive View feature by Marc A. Ott, Executive Director of the International City/County Manage- ment Association), others are leery of a potential corporate takeover of critical public assets that could lead to things like more tolls for roads and other fees imposed on citizens for projects that, heretofore, were financed by tax dollars, alone. Also, finding local government funding for massive infra- structure projects, will be challenging, to say the least. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are more willing to push their own 10-year, $500 billion infrastructure plan, which they trotted out last year, and less willing to work with Trump, whose approval ratings remain low, and whose only major legislative achievement, the recently completed tax reform bill, is widely unpopular. In addition, Congress has several other pressing issues to take up before the mid-term elections, including: funding the government, renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, issuing tens of billions of dollars to communities ravaged by recent hurricanes and wildfires, dealing with immigration reform and the so-called “dreamers” (children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents), and propping up Obamacare subsidies, so it’s quite possible that any infrastructure legislation may languish, yet again – much to the detriment of our economy and standard of living. Will America’s crumbling and rusty infrastructure doom us into becoming a third-world nation, or will we summon the political courage and intellectual stamina to reverse course and fix the things that need fixing? Only time will tell.