It appears the United States is barely earning a passing grade when it comes to replacing or updating its aging infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently released its 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, giving the U.S. an overall grade of D+. It’s an incremental improvement over the D given in 2009.
This year’s Report Card indicates that in order to adequately improve the nation’s infrastructure, a total investment of $3.6 trillion is needed by the year 2020. About $2 trillion in infrastructure investment is actually projected – just slightly more than half of the amount that is needed. This ultimately begs the question as to when a failing grade will be given, and what the consequences would be?
The ASCE says it develops the reports to educate the country’s political leaders, policymakers, business leaders, infrastructure stakeholders, media, and citizens about the condition of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Individual grades were given in 16 categories including aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, transit, and wastewater. The final grades are assigned based on the capacity to meet future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.
Several states received individual grades, but Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming were not among those graded. However, the Report Card does include information about the current infrastructure needs in all four states, as well as how much the projects are expected to cost.