The United States lags behind in infrastructure spending compared to its international competitors. The U.S.’s projected investment by 2040 is 1.5%, compared to 5.1% in China and 4.1% in Indonesia, which are the global leaders in infrastructure investment.
The U.S.’s lower ranking in infrastructure investment is related to how the country’s infrastructure projects are funded, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. On average, European countries spend 5% of GDP on infrastructure, while China spends roughly 8% — the U.S., meanwhile, spends only 2.4% of its GDP on infrastructure. European countries also rely on infrastructure needs at a national level, while infrastructure in the U.S. is funded at state and local levels. Only 25% of U.S. public infrastructure funding comes from the federal government — down from a peak of 38% nearly 45 years ago.
The U.S. population has more than doubled since the 1960s, when most of the country’s infrastructure systems were created. Experts believe that making further investments in infrastructure could boost long-term U.S. competitiveness, better equip the economy to handle climate-related shocks and create jobs.