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Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 21, 2013 at 5:36 PM.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has given the nation’s infrastructure a near failing grade of “D+” overall in its 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, released earlier this week. However, it shows slight progress from the “D” rating given in the last Report Card in 2009.
The Report Card provides the nation with expert advice from the civil engineering community about the condition of U.S. infrastructure. ASCE has produced four previous reports—in 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2009—as well as the Progress Report for America’s Infrastructure, which was released in 2003. These assessments have highlighted that America’s critical infrastructure—principally its roads, bridges, drinking water systems, mass transit systems, schools, and systems for delivering energy—may soon fail to meet society’s needs.
“Since 1998, ASCE felt an obligation to make a report on the state of infrastructure in the U.S. to show that 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,” explained ASCE’s immediate past president, Andrew W. Herrmann, P.E., SECB, F.ASCE, chair of the Advisory Council of ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and member of the present Advisory Council that produced the 2013 Report Card. “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.”
Final grades were assigned based on capacity to meet future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation.
The bridges sector earned a small improvement, to a “C+” this year from a “C” in 2009. Nevertheless, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that to eliminate the nation’s bridge deficient backlog by 2028, about $20.5 billion would need to be invested annually; only $12.8 billion is currently being spent annually.
Michael F. Britt, senior vice president and director of project development at bridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters commented, “Making infrastructure repair and maintenance a priority is our responsibility and obligation for today’s travelers and future generations alike. With one in nine of our nation’s bridges classified as structurally deficient, it is more important than ever that state and federal governments work together to solve the problem of transportation funding.”
“We are making strides in the right direction, with the number of bridges classified as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete declining—but there is still much work to be done,” he added.
You can view ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure at www.infrastructurereportcard.org.