The Economic Perspective: “Declining Infrastructure”

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at declining infrastructure.  Mike, most of us don’t think about the infrastructure that keeps us going – things like roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and the electric grid.  We assume they’re there – ready to use – anytime they’re needed.   But many experts say we are facing a growing crisis with our infrastructure.  What is it?


Mike:  Summary Answer

  • Age
  • All of the systems you mentioned are at the lowest point in their useful life in a century
  • Means we will have to devote more resources to maintaining, repairing, or replacing
  • But often this spending isn’t popular, and there are many public needs – health care and education – that compete for dollars
  • Yet, if our infrastructure continues to decline, it affects our productivity and future standard of living
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.