Sun, Mar 12, 2017 - Page 15 News List

US infrastructure gets ‘D+’ as dams, bridges crumble

By Benjamin Preston  /  The Guardian

The US is literally falling apart. The most authoritative report of the nation’s infrastructure on Thursday gave the country’s crumbling roads, bridges, dams, schools and other essential underpinnings a “D+” grade.

Not a single element of the US’ framework received an “A” grade.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) quadrennial infrastructure “report card” painted a grim picture of the US’ backbone.

According to the organization’s analysis, there has not been much improvement in the state of the US’ transportation, water, energy, education and waste management programs since the last report was released, in 2013.

The report comes after US President Donald Trump pledged to rebuild the US’ broken infrastructure on the campaign trail, plans that appear to have stalled amid a backlash against government spending. It also comes after a series of disasters, including lead in the water of Flint, Michigan, and other municipalities, and the evacuation of 20,000 in California after the near-collapse of a major dam.

The report card, broken into sections, analyzes aviation (D), bridges (C+), dams (D), drinking water (D), energy (D+), hazardous waste (D+), inland waterways (D), levees (D), parks and recreation (D+), ports (C+), railways (B), roads (D), schools (D+), solid waste (C), public transit (D-) and wastewater (D+) resources.

Of the 16 categories, seven had shown minor improvements and three had declined, with the remainder maintaining the same dismal grades.

The overall “D+” score was consistent with the findings of the 2013 report.

ASCE says in its report that the country faces more than US$2 trillion in infrastructure funding shortfalls, which it estimates will cost the wider US economy US$3.9 trillion and 2.5 million domestic jobs by 2025.

The ASCE estimates the average cost to US families in time lost in traffic, delayed flights and other infrastructure snafus is US$3,400 in disposable income a year.

“While our nation’s infrastructure problems are significant, they are solvable,” ASCE president Norma Jean Mattei said in a statement. “We need our elected leaders — those who pledged to rebuild our infrastructure while on the campaign trail — to follow through on those promises with investment and innovative solutions that will ensure our infrastructure is built for the future.”

Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, echoed the dire sentiments expressed in ASCE’s report, saying that long-term funding issues needed to be solved to reverse the decline seen over the past two decades.

“The grades in the ASCE Report Card provide yet another example of what occurs when a nation underinvests in the critical infrastructure systems that support economic development and quality of life,” he said.

The grading system is simple: A = exceptional, fit for the future; B = good, adequate for now; C = Mediocre, requires attention; D = poor, at risk; F = failing, unfit for purpose.

The ASCE handed out only one “B” grade, to railways, and not a single “A.”

Roads and aviation, among the lowest-scoring categories in the report, are perhaps the most visible to the average American.

ASCE says that increasing passenger volume at airports around the country could soon lead to Thanksgiving holiday levels of congestion at 24 of 30 major facilities.

This story has been viewed 3168 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top