NPG Report Focuses on U.S. Infrastructure and Population on a Collision Course
Alexandria, VA – If current trends continue and immigration remains such a driving force in America’s population growth, our country may be forced to accommodate as many as 417 million people by 2060. That means that our nation’s present failing and fragile infrastructure – including highways, bridges, dams, water systems, electric grids, etc. – will be put under tremendous added stress. Is our nation ready to meet such demands? That is the subject of a brand-new Forum Paper released by Negative Population Growth (NPG), one of the nation’s premiere population-focused organizations.
The eight-page paper, Collision Course: Infrastructure and U.S. Population Growth, researched and written by Edwin S. Rubenstein, presents the stark reality that while the percentage of infrastructure spending in the U.S. economy has collapsed, population growth remains on its upward trajectory – a recipe for potential future disasters in huge segments of American life. One of the key factors that runs through Rubenstein’s research is that more immigration drives up the need for costly social programs, which in turn, diverts more money from infrastructure. The numbers say it all: As a share of federal non-defense spending, education and social programs have gone from 20.7% in 1960 to 34.9% in 2014. During that same time period, infrastructure spending has gone from 11.2% to just 3.3%.
Rubenstein notes that “U.S. infrastructure received an overall grade of D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2017 largely unchanged from the previous report in 2013. The D+ grade is considered “poor” or “at risk,” just one step above “failing” and “unfit for purpose.” Brought to light in his paper are worrisome statements such as ASCE’s recent findings that: “one out of every five miles of highway pavement is in poor condition”; “the average age of the country’s 90,580 dams is 56 years. About 17% of them are rated as ‘high hazard potential’”; “every day, nearly six billion gallons of treated drinking water are lost due to leaky pipes”; and “almost a quarter (24%) of all public schools were rated as being in ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ condition”. These disturbing facts will soon be aggravated by the harsh reality that congestion in key areas is outpacing road capacity, places that once seemed to have limitless supplies of fresh water are facing shortages, and a vital component of hospital infrastructure is languishing: the Emergency Room.
While there is general bipartisan agreement in Washington, DC these days that the federal government must give greater priority and commit more dollars to fixing and expanding America’s infrastructure, Rubenstein highlights the huge difference in what is being sought and what is needed. He states: “Although Donald Trump has proposed $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years, the ASCE estimates that $4.29 trillion is needed by 2025 to bring infrastructure into a state of good repair.”
Rubenstein concludes his research by stating: “Too many people, not enough roads, classrooms, emergency rooms and drinking water. This in a nutshell is the problem facing public infrastructure in many U.S. communities….A two-part solution, involving immigration reform and a shift in spending priorities, is essential. Failure to act and today’s infrastructure problem will inevitably become tomorrow’s infrastructure crisis.”
Founded in 1972, NPG is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to educating the American public and political leaders regarding the damaging effects of population growth. We believe that our nation is already vastly overpopulated in terms of the long-range carrying capacity of its resources and environment. NPG advocates the adoption of its Proposed National Population Policy, with the goal of eventually stabilizing U.S. population at a sustainable level – far lower than today’s. We do not simply identify the problems – we propose solutions. For more information, visit our website at www.NPG.org, follow us on Facebook @NegativePopulationGrowth or follow us on Twitter @npg_org.