Lytton Advisory

American Infrastructure

us-mapFew countries epitomise individualism and free markets as much as the United States. Large swathes of the economy are given over to commercial activity. The US is a global leader in investment, innovation and infrastructure systems. Also, a lot of infrastructure in the US has been privately developed, delivered and run over a long period of time.

Which is why it might be surprising that the last Report Card (2013) by the American Society for Civil Engineers so poor. One would have thought eagle eyed investors could create assets to address infrastructure needs. The engineers actually gave America a D+ and stated that by 2020 investment of some US$3.6 trillion is required. That is around US$11,250 for every man, woman and child. The next review is in 2017.

In contrast, the Institute of Engineers in Australia gave Australia a grade of C+ in 2010 on the back of a possible deficit in infrastructure spending of A$770 billion. That is around A$32,000 for every man, woman and child in Australia. It seems we need even more than our American cousins.

So who is doing better? It is hard to tell without know what assets each country already has.  I suspect the level of future investment is partly a function of increasing demand and the need to replace of existing assets. It will be good to get some first hand insights when I am in the US in December.