AMERICA’S CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE
AMERICA’S CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE If you live in any city in America, you no doubt have your own horror story to tell about the condition of the roads/bridges in your community…or the traffic flow that is just NOT keeping-up with the growth in your city. But what you may not know is that you are not alone. Communities across America (where unemployment is high and the condition of local infrastructure abysmal) share your pain and are getting the cold ‘shoulder’ from local and national politicians (SHOCKED???). How bad is it? I consulted the experts on this, as beyond my layman’s knowledge, I really am not qualified to speak about this topic…but I found some people who are: The American Society of Civil Engineers, founded in 1852, is the country’s oldest national engineering organization. It represents more than 150,000 civil engineers in private practice, government, industry, and academia who are dedicated to advancing the science and profession of civil engineering. Now THEY have a shot at getting this right, so let’s go with them! The ASCE Committee on America’s Infrastructure, made up of 28 dedicated civil engineers from across the country with decades of expertise in all categories, volunteers their time to work with ASCE Infrastructure Initiatives staff to prepare the Infrastructure Report Card. The Committee assesses all relevant data and reports, consults with technical and industry experts, and assigns grades using the following key criteria: • Capacity: Does the infrastructure’s capacity meet current and future demands? • Condition: What is the infrastructure’s existing and near-future physical condition? • Funding: What is the current level of funding from all levels of government for the infrastructure category as compared to the estimated funding need? • Future Need: What is the cost to improve the infrastructure? Will future funding prospects address the need? • Operation and Maintenance: What is the owners’ ability to operate and maintain the infrastructure properly? Is the infrastructure in compliance with government regulations? • Public Safety: To what extent is the public’s safety jeopardized by the condition of the infrastructure and what could be the consequences of failure? • Resilience: What is the infrastructure system’s capability to prevent or protect against significant multi-hazard threats and incidents? How able is it to quickly recover and reconstitute critical services with minimum consequences for public safety and health, the economy, and national security? • Innovation: What new and innovative techniques, materials, technologies, and delivery methods are being implemented to improve the infrastructure? Infrastructure Report Card Grading Scale • • EXCEPTIONAL, FIT FOR THE FUTURE • The infrastructure in the system or network is generally in excellent condition, typically new or recently rehabilitated, and meets capacity needs for the future. A few elements show signs of general deterioration that require attention. Facilities meet modern standards for functionality and are resilient to withstand most disasters and severe weather events. • • GOOD, ADEQUATE FOR NOW • The infrastructure in the system or network is in good to excellent condition; some elements show signs of general deterioration that require attention. A few elements exhibit significant deficiencies. Safe and reliable, with minimal capacity issues and minimal risk. • • MEDIOCRE, REQUIRES ATTENTION • The infrastructure in the system or network is in fair to good condition; it shows general signs of deterioration and requires attention. Some elements exhibit significant deficiencies in conditions and functionality, with increasing vulnerability to risk. • • POOR, AT RISK • The infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of serious concern with strong risk of failure. • • FAILING/CRITICAL, UNFIT FOR PURPOSE • The infrastructure in the system is in unacceptable condition with widespread advanced signs of deterioration. Many of the components of the system exhibit signs of imminent failure. AMERICA’S GRADE IN 2017 Category 1988* 1998 2001 2005 2009 2013 2017 Aviation B- C- D D+ D D D Bridges – C- C C C C+ C+ Dams – D D D+ D D D Drinking Water B- D D D- D- D D Energy – – D+ D D+ D+ D+ Hazardous Waste D D- D+ D D D D+ Inland Waterways B- – D+ D- D- D- D Levees – – – – D- D- D Ports – – – – – C C+ Public Parks & Recreation – – – C- C- C- D+ Rail – – – C- C- C+ B Roads C+ D- D+ D D- D D Schools D F D- D D D D+ Solid Waste C- C- C+ C+ C+ B- C+ Transit C- C- C- D+ D D D- Wastewater C D+ D D- D- D D+ GPA C D D+ D D D+ D+ Cost to Improve** – – $1.3T $1.6T $2.2T $3.6T $4.59T America’s Infrastructure Scores a D+!!! If these PROFESSIONALLY PREPARED AND UNBIASED FACTS do not disturb you, they really should. The longer we wait to fix these problems, the more citizens will be at risk of being hurt or killed by unkept roads and unsafe bridges. As citizens, we can consolidate our voices and be HEARD by local officials…so please do YOUR part to correct this problem before your family and/or friends fall victim to unsafe conditions in YOUR community! Please logon to http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/ to get your state’s infrastructure grade. We are pretty mobile in the US, and always looking for that better life and better mousetrap…so here are a few suggestions about what cities the ‘experts’ say are the best places to live in the US!