What Hillary Clinton’s Infrastructure Plan Would Mean for Illinois

Illinois could potentially receive $10 billion in infrastructure spending over 5 years under Clinton’s proposed comprehensive infrastructure plan, which would annually create over 21,000 new jobs in the state.


Disclaimer: Voters will decide on November 8th who will become the 45th President of the United States of America, Secretary Hillary Clinton or businessman Donald Trump. As of October 25th, two weeks before Election Day, Hillary Clinton has an 85 percent chance of winning the election under FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only forecast (83 percent chance in the polls-plus forecast). This article investigates the infrastructure plan proposed by Hillary Clinton, given her high probability of becoming President.

A lot is at stake in this Presidential election. International and domestic issues such as combating ISIS and dealing with Russia, the acceptance or rejection of Syrian refugees entering the U.S., funding education and making college more affordable, the price of child care, pay equity, income inequality, and immigration reform are among the hot topics in this election season.

Despite being the backbone of the U.S. economy, infrastructure is a topic that has only been moderately discussed this election season. Specifically, quality transportation infrastructure improves business efficiency and strengthens the labor market. A primary factor in the success of businesses is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials, and workers. Investments in infrastructure assist businesses in getting their product to markets, limit time commuters spend in congestion, and improve productivity.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. needs an estimated $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2020. This investment is to fix deteriorating roads, bridges, railways, airways, waterways, sewage systems, clean water systems, and energy systems and is a bare minimum of the need. The federal government and the individual states need to invest more in infrastructure to stay competitive globally.

Hillary Clinton has proposed an infrastructure plan if she is elected President– a prospect that now seems likely given current scientific polling data. In her first 100 days in office, Clinton has claimed that she would pass a comprehensive plan to create sustainable jobs in infrastructure with the “biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades.” She announced a $275 billion, five-year plan to rebuild the United States’ infrastructure. Her proposal includes repairing roads and bridges, lowering transportation costs such as transit fees, investing in the expansion of internet access to households across the nation, capitalizing in airports and the national airspace system, and building energy infrastructure for the 21st century.

Infrastructure investment creates jobs and boosts the economy. Good, middle-class jobs will be created and supported in the construction, building, and transportation industries in the U.S. workforce under Hillary Clinton’s proposal, according to her website. Clinton plans on raising the $275 billion with tax reform – mostly by raising taxes on the wealthy. $250 billion would go directly to public investment, while $25 billion would go to a national infrastructure bank. The bank would allow up to an additional $225 billion in support of loans and other credit enhancement.

According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, every $1 billion invested in infrastructure creates 13,000 jobs. Thus, by investing at least $50 billion per year on infrastructure, Clinton’s plan would create an estimated 650,000 jobs annually during the first five years. Furthermore, every $1 invested in infrastructure increases GDP by an estimated $1.60, resulting in a nearly $80 billion stimulus to the American economy. Workers and businesses benefit from infrastructure investment.

What Hillary Clinton’s Infrastructure Plan Would Mean for Illinois

All types of infrastructure – transportation, water quality, sewage quality, and energy – are important to Illinois’ future success. Specifically, transportation infrastructure in Illinois is in dire need of investment. Years of underfunding roads, bridges, rails, airways, and waterways have led to deteriorating transportation systems. Roads in “poor to mediocre” condition cost Illinois $2.2 billion annually. Traffic crashes amount to $9 billion in economic losses, and up to 30 percent of Chicago Transit Authority rail lines are designated as “slow zones” because of mediocre rails that pose risks to public safety. By 2018, nearly one-third of all road miles and one in every 10 bridges will be in unacceptable condition in the state if Illinois does not invest additional resources into infrastructure investment. Illinois must invest in transportation infrastructure to modernize transit systems, alleviate congestion, reduce motorist injuries and costs, and provide updated transportation systems that attracts businesses.

Hillary Clinton’s comprehensive plan has not determined how it would disperse the $250 billion in public infrastructure investments. Each state would receive a portion of the $250 billion for infrastructure needs, though some states may receive larger shares than others. One possible method to distribute the revenue could be to grant each state according to its share of total U.S. population or U.S. GDP.

Illinois is 4.3 percent of the U.S. GDP and 4 percent of the U.S. population. Under this hypothetical allocation, Illinois would receive about $10 billion over the 5-year plan in infrastructure funding, since 4 percent of $250 billion equals $10 billion.

Assuming that Illinois is awarded an additional $2 billion per year in new federal funds for infrastructure investment needs over the 5-year plan, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute estimates that the Clinton infrastructure plan would create 21,400 new jobs every year in Illinois; this would include 11,000 direct construction jobs that will pay, on average, over $64,000 in annual wage and salary income. This forecast was completed by running an economic simulation using the IMPLAN software. The infrastructure plan would also be expected to boost Illinois’ annual economic output by $3.53 billion (in 2020 dollars). Over 5 years, Illinois’ economy would grow and middle-class jobs in construction, transportation, and manufacturing would be created or saved.

hrc-implan-2

That being said, Clinton’s 5-year infrastructure plan only directly supports 8 percent of the $3.6 trillion infrastructure need by 2020. The remaining infrastructure gap will have to be filled with existing federal funds and actions at the state and local levels. The plan is not perfect, but it is a comprehensive proposal with $275 billion in new funding to address significant problems. The plan would create millions of middle-class jobs and sustainably grow the U.S. economy over 5 years. As long as Illinois receives a fair share of the new investment, the plan would help put Illinois back on the right economic path.

For more on the details of the Clinton infrastructure plan used in this article, visit the full PDF factsheet at this link.


Cover photo retrieved from Flickr user Thomas Anderson.

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