Congressional Budget Office Reveals Public Spending Trends for Water Infrastructure and Transportation in New Report

Congressional-Budget-Office-1-300x199(October 23, 2018) - The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a report, entitled Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2017, which provides information on spending by federal, state, and local governments for transportation and water infrastructure. The report highlights important trends. In addition to presenting data on outlays for various types of infrastructure, the reports also examine spending in terms of two broad categories—spending for capital and spending for operation and maintenance.

Among the data of note to clean water stakeholders:

  • Water supply and wastewater treatment spending totaled $113 Billion in 2017. Of this spending, 28% ($31 billion) went to capital, while 72% ($82 billion) went to operations and maintenance.
  • Only 4% of this spending ($4.5 billion) was federal. The other 96% ($109 Billion) was State and Local. There’s a good chart on slide 23 showing the fed vs. non-fed trends over 60 years.
  • Compared to the other categories of transportation and water infrastructure studies, 4% is the lowest federal share, and $4.5 billion is the lowest federal investment amount.

Federal, state, and local governments spent $441 billion, categorized into six types of transportation and water infrastructure that are paid for largely by the public sector. That amount equaled about 2.3 % of gross domestic product. The largest component of that total, $177 billion, went to highways, followed by water utilities and mass transit and rail.

The CBO has regularly published a report that documents trends in public spending for infrastructure. In this latest report, CBO has updated the exhibits featured in previous reports through 2017, updating information that CBO released in 2015.