InfrastructureU.S. infrastructure grade raised from D to a D+, but problems loom

Published 21 March 2013

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in its just-released 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, gave the U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of D+, showing slight progress from the D in the last Report Card issued in 2009. The Report Card concludes that to raise the grades and get U.S. infrastructure to an acceptable level, a total investment of $3.6 trillion is needed by 2020. Currently, only about $2 trillion in infrastructure spending is projected, leaving a shortfall of approximately $1.6 trillion.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in its just-released 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, gave the U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of D+, showing slight progress from the D in the last Report Card issued in 2009.

It is the first time since ASCE started producing Report Cards in 1998 that the grades rose overall, and in several sectors.

An ASCE release notes that the report provides U.S. political leaders, policymakers, business leaders, infrastructure stakeholders, the media, and the general public with expert advice from the civil engineering community about the condition of infrastructure across the nation.

“As civil engineers, ASCE believes that we are the stewards of infrastructure — we designed it, we built it, and we actually oversee the operations and maintenance of it in many cases,” notes ASCE president Gregory E. DiLoreto. “So as stewards, we have a responsibility with the Report Card to call attention to the state of the nation’s infrastructure. We as Americans need to be proactive in monitoring and taking care of our infrastructure so that it will be here not only for us, but for our children and our grandchildren.”

ASCE has produced four previous Report Cards 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 the fact 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, 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.”

“The reason why we want to make improvements to our infrastructure is not just simply to improve the grade,” added DiLoreto. “Investment in our infrastructure will help grow our economy; it will create jobs and improve our quality

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