While the nation’s infrastructure has seen slight improvement since the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its last report card in 2009—from D to D+—the group warns that, without a major commitment and investment, the roads, bridges, drinking water systems, mass transit systems, schools and systems for delivering energy that we depend on “may soon fail to meet society’s needs.”
ASCE President Gregory E. DiLoreto says:
The reason why we want to make improvements to our infrastructure is not just simply to improve the grade. Investment in our infrastructure will help grow our economy; it will create jobs and improve our quality of life. It means being able to get to work easier without sitting in traffic all day long; and continuing to enjoy safe, clean and reliable drinking water anywhere in the country; and having an electrical transmission grid with fewer or no blackouts.
ASCE began releasing their report cards in 1998, and while this is the first time the grades have risen overall and in some sectors, past President Andrew W. Herrmann says:
We are not making the necessary investments to improve it and not even making some of the investments that we need to maintain what we have….We as civil engineering professionals feel that it is our obligation to point out to the White House, Congress and state and local legislators what is happening to the infrastructure in the U.S.
Individual grades were given in the categories of aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, transit and waste water. Final grades were assigned based on capacity to meet future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation.
The report card concludes that to raise the grades and get our infrastructure at an acceptable level, a total investment of $3.6 trillion is needed by 2020 across the entire 16 sectors. Currently, only about $2 trillion in infrastructure spending is projected, leaving an estimated shortfall of about $1.6 trillion.
Click here for the report that includes a detailed look at each category; a state-by-state breakdown; interactive charts; and video reports. The report is also available as a free app for smartphones and tablets for downloading via the iTunes app and Google Play stores—search “American Society of Civil Engineers.”