estimates school modernization needs at over $262 billion;4 the Water Infrastructure Network estimates that an additional $23 billion per year for the next 20 years is needed to upgrade existing drinking-water and wastewater treatment facilities to comply with environmental standards and to build new facilities to accommodate growth.5 Finally, under new state and local government accounting standards (taking effect between 2001 and 2004), all government entities must determine the value of their infrastructure facilities and reflect that value in their books. They then must either maintain the facilities to sustain their value or depreciate the value in their accounts.6 This is likely both to improve the data on infrastructure values and needs and to create new incentives to avoid deferring maintenance.
Recently, there has been an increased reliance on the private sector for all facets of infrastructure projects, from design and engineering to construction and on to operation and maintenance.
Table 1: U.S. Infrastructure Condition an
Poor to inadequate
Mediocre to poor Mediocre
Mediocre to poor Inadequate
d Investment Needs
Investment Needs $263 billion to fill backlog and maintain $94 billion for improvements $80 billion to fix currently deficient bridges $39 billion to maintain $72 billion to improve $40–$60 billion to expand to meet growing demand
$112 billion to modernize
Drinking Water Wastewater Dams Solid Waste Hazardous Waste
Poor Poor to mediocre Poor Mediocre to poor Poor to inadequate
$60 billion for new schools to meet growth $138.4 billion to improve $140 billion to improve $1 billion to fix unsafe dams No estimate $750 billion to clean up identified hazardous sites
Source: American Society of Civil Engineers, “1998 Society of Civil Engineers, 1998).
At least $1.3 trillion Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” (Washington, D.C.: American
The magnitude of the importance of infrastructure delivery has led some public-works agencies to seek new solutions. Private firms, building upon a long history of providing design and construction services to other businesses seeking expansion of their infrastructure, now offer state and local governments an alternative to traditional project delivery, through outsourcing and innovative partnerships. Governments are coming to
National Education Association, Modernizing Our Schools: What Will It Cost? (Washington, D.C.: National Education Association, 2000), p. 9.
Water Infrastructure Network, Clean and Safe Water for the 21st Century (Washington, D.C.: Water Infrastructure Network, 2000), p. 3-3, www.wef.org/publicinfo/NewsRoom/PressReleaseArchives/2000/041200.htm.
See Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 34, www.rutgers.edu/Accounting/raw/gasb/repmodel/ index.html.