U.S. Infrastructure Report Card: D

Monday, March 30, 2009

When it comes to making the grade for having good roads, schools, mass transit and other key elements of infrastructure, the United States is headed for failure. This according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), whose latest report card on the state of America’s infrastructure reveals a steady decline in the creation of new highways, treatment plants and buildings since 1988. For 2009, the cumulative grade given by ASCE is a “D”—compared to an overall “C” that was handed out when the organization issued its first rating two decades ago. The lowest grade, a D-, was assigned to wastewater management and the highest, a C, to bridge maintenance.

The report was issued at the same time Congress is trying to figure out how to pay for what ASCE insists is $2.2 trillion in new roads, dams, bridges, schools, water treatment plants and other infrastructure that the country needs, while the economy is mired in recession and hundreds of billions of dollars are being allocated to shore up the financial industry. During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) told Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and lawmakers that the federal government should adopt a capital budget with borrowing that spreads the cost of projects over 20 or 30 years. But the committee’s chairwoman, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), said she’s not in favor of abandoning a pay-as-you-go system of funding transportation improvements.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
US Infrastructure Is Deplored (by Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Video: Report Card for America’s Infrastructure (American Society of Civil Engineers)
Report Cards (American Society of Civil Engineers)


Leave a comment