State-by-state report card on America's infrastructure

March 25, 2009
Although America's infrastructure picture looks bleak, a just-released report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) shows that with ingenuity and the right amount of commitment on the part of the nation's leaders and the American people, the infrastructure crisis is a solvable problem

Although America's infrastructure picture looks bleak, a just-released report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) shows that with ingenuity and the right amount of commitment on the part of the nation's leaders and the American people, the infrastructure crisis is a solvable problem.

ASCE’s most recent grades from its comprehensive Report Card for America's Infrastructure assigns the nation's roads, bridges, water systems, and other critical foundations a cumulative grade of D, and notes a five-year investment need of $2.2 trillion.

Along with examining the basis for those failing grades, the Report Card offers an array of solutions - national, local, and personal - for how the nation can repair and revitalize the infrastructure systems it depends on.

The report is accompanied by an in-depth website (www.asce.org/reportcard) that offers state-level infrastructure data on a variety of subjects.

"The problems our nation's infrastructure faces are significant, and their impact on our personal and economic health is incredibly serious,” ASCE president D Wayne Klotz said. “However, this crisis is solvable.

“Increasing our investment in infrastructure is important, but the solution will involve more than just money. It will take sound technology, wise community planning, and involved citizens willing to partner with the government and private sector to make real change. I believe the American people are up to that challenge."

While the comprehensive Report Card provides a great deal of information on the impact of failing infrastructure, it also focuses on ways the nation can begin addressing these critical deficiencies.

Each category of infrastructure, from aviation and bridges to transit and wastewater, includes not only a list of sector specific solutions, but also a series of case studies on how individual communities are already addressing the needs of their residents.

For example, in the Roads category solutions include: reforming the federal highway program to emphasize performance management, cost-benefit analysis and accountability, as well as addressing the long-term viability of fuel taxes for transportation funding, and exploring the viability of the most promising options to strengthen this funding.

The Report card also presents a detailed breakdown of the investment needs across all 15 categories assessed, including current spending estimates, five-year needed investments, funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the remaining shortfall.

The 2009 Report Card was developed by an advisory council of 28 civil engineers representing each of the infrastructure categories, as well as a broad spectrum of civil engineering disciplines. Each category was evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety and resilience.

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