In 2021, ESI collaborated with the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) at Rutgers University and the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) to study the links between transportation infrastructure maintenance, resiliency and economic competitiveness.
The study reviewed decades of relevant research and found that regions with inadequate public investment endure higher daily costs of living and operating businesses resulting in uncompetitive economies, lower incomes, and poorer quality of life. The economic returns to public infrastructure are high, and they are particularly high where existing public infrastructure is inadequate. Investment in new public infrastructure, and maintaining existing public infrastructure is one of the best ways to ensure improving incomes and quality of life in the future.
The study then developed base case and investment scenarios for the US Virgin Islands (USVI). Poor infrastructure in the USVI, specifically transportation infrastructure, has been shown to be very costly for the USVI economy and its residents. Increasing investment in public infrastructure and in public infrastructure maintenance will improve the quality of life of USVI residents, improve incomes, and make the economy more competitive. It will also make the economy more resilient to upcoming challenges from climate change.