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Understanding the Economic Impact of the Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse

March 27, 2024 by IMPLAN Staff

The recent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has sent shockwaves not only through Maryland, but also through the United States and the world at large. In addition to the heartbreaking loss of life, this event also has significant economic implications for the state of Maryland. In the aftermath of this disaster, the IMPLAN team has been hard at work analyzing the economic impact of a potential one-month closure of the Port of Baltimore.

National vs. State-Level Impacts

“Before we even performed the analysis, we knew this event would have a negligible loss to the US GDP. The logistics and shipping will just shift to another US port temporarily,” said IMPLAN Vice President of Customer Success and Education Services Candi Clouse, PhD. 

“The effect on the US GDP would be limited due to several factors,” Clouse said. “Firstly, the bridge primarily serves local and regional traffic, not the entire country. Secondly, though there may be short-term congestion and increased costs from rerouted traffic, long-term adjustments in traffic patterns could mitigate economic impacts. Lastly, the collapse could highlight the need for infrastructure investment, potentially leading to increased spending on projects that could positively affect GDP over time. While the collapse's national impact may be minimal, it would significantly affect the local economy and prompt reevaluation of infrastructure planning.”

“The potential impact to Maryland is something to keep an eye on,” Clouse said. “Even if the port is only closed for 30 days, Maryland would be at risk for losing $550M to its GDP and $1 billion loss in total value of goods and services.”

A Substantial Loss for the Maryland Economy

Approximately 15,000 employees work at the Port of Baltimore. A closure could result in an estimated $275 million loss in labor income. The ripple effect of this event could result in an employment loss of almost 18,000 jobs and $443M in labor income for the state. It could also mean a direct loss of $286M in contribution to GDP and almost $500M in output for the state of Maryland. This could lead to a total loss of $550M in contribution to GDP and almost $1B in output.

In terms of tax revenue, the closure of the port for just one month could result in a direct loss of $5 million for city and special districts, $8 million for counties, and $12 million for the state. This would amount to a total loss of approximately $14 million for cities and special districts, $19 million for counties, and a staggering $28 million for the state.

The Construction and Operations Analysis of Rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge

While the economic impact of the bridge collapse is significant for the state of Maryland, there is hope on the horizon. The price to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge is estimated to be upwards of $600 million, a cost that will likely be covered by the federal government.

The rebuilding of the bridge is expected to support an estimated 2,000 construction jobs with $142 million in labor income and a contribution to GDP of $297 million. Through the supply chain and household spending, the total economic impact of the construction is projected to support almost 4,000 jobs with labor income of $265 million, a contribution to GDP of $535 million, and output just over $1 billion for the state.

In terms of tax revenue, the rebuilding of the bridge will support $14 million in direct local and state taxes and a total local and state tax impact of $48 million throughout Maryland.

Moving Forward

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the Maryland economy, particularly on the workers and businesses directly affected by the closure of the Port of Baltimore. However, the rebuilding of the bridge presents an opportunity to not only restore this vital transportation link but also to stimulate economic growth and job creation throughout the state and potentially the country as the critical need for infrastructure investments has been brought to light.

Topics: Economics, Impact


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