Civil Engineers Issue Harsh Report on State of Infrastructure

By on March 14, 2017

From Trucking Info:  The American Society of Civil Engineers has once again assigned a barely passing grade of “D+” to the nation’s overall infrastructure and an even more parsimonious “D” to our road network. Bridges, though, fared a bit better— scoring a “C+.”

On the other hand, ASCE conceded in its latest Infrastructure Report Card that there has been “incremental progress” on fixing infrastructure. Still, there hasn’t been enough positive movement across the broad infrastructure board yet to secure even an overall rating of “C.”

According to ASCE, the infrastructure mess adds up to a funding shortfall of $2 trillion that it projects by 2025 will ding the overall U.S. economy by $3.9 trillion.

What’s much more, the group estimates that it will take a staggering $4.59 trillion in funding over the next 8 years to bring all the infrastructure studied up to what ASCE considers as acceptable “B”-grade standard.

ASCE noted that its 2017 grades range from a high of “B” for Rail to a low of “D-“ for Transit. The group said that spread illustrates the clear impact of investment – or lack thereof – on the grades. Here is the grading system spelled out: “A” is “exceptional; “B” is good; “C” is mediocre; “D” is poor, at risk; and “F” is—no surprise here– failing, unfit for purpose.

Three categories (Parks, Solid Waste, and Transit) saw their grade decline this time while seven (Hazardous Waste, Inland Waterways, Levees, Ports, Rail, Schools, and Wastewater) saw slight improvements. Six categories’ grades remain unchanged from 2013: Aviation, Bridges, Dams, Drinking Water, Energy, and Roads.

Where there was improvement, it came thanks to “vocal leadership, thoughtful policymaking, and investments that garnered results.” ASCE contended that these improvements “demonstrate what can be accomplished when solutions that move projects forward are approved and implemented.”

“While our nation’s infrastructure problems are significant, they are solvable,” ASCE President Norma Jean Mattei said in a statement on the report card. In a thinly veiled reference to President Trump among other politicians, she added that, “We need our elected leaders– those who pledged to rebuild our infrastructure while on the campaign trail– to follow through on those promises with investment and innovative solutions that will ensure our infrastructure is built for the future.”

The report finds that more than two out of every five miles of America’s urban interstates are congested and traffic delays cost the country $160 billion in wasted time and fuel in 2014. On top of that, one out of every five miles of highway pavement is in poor condition and “roads have a significant and increasing backlog of rehabilitation needs.” And after years of decline, traffic fatalities increased by 7% from 2014 to 2015, with 35,092 people dying on America’s roads.

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