Since the 1960s, when the federal government began winding down construction of the interstate highway system, federal spending for public projects has steadily fallen as a percent of GDP.
Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation's infrastructure a D+ grade in its latest annual report.
After years of underfunding, it will take trillions of dollars to make the needed repairs. The cost of doing nothing would be even higher, according to the group's analysis. By 2025, the impact of lost business, higher transportation costs and other economic headwinds would wipe out about $4 trillion in GDP, and approximately 2.5 million jobs.
Faced with rising pension costs and tax-weary voters, state governments have also been cutting infrastructure spending as a share of the economy. Over the past half decade, state and local government spending on capital projects dropped from its high of 3 percent of GDP to less than 2 percent in 2015, according a report last year from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Some states have decided they can no longer wait for Washington to come up with a solution. In the last two years, a handful of states have moved to raise gasoline taxes to fund transportation repairs and upgrades.
The Trump administration also has suggested that some of the funding could come from private investment, which has financed several dozen public projects in the past two decades. But the idea has had only mixed success.