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The True Cost Of Fixing America's Infrastructure

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The True Cost Of Fixing America's Infrastructure
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The Oroville Dam crisis in California once again has America’s aging infrastructure in the headlines.

President Donald Trump has pledged to devote up to $1 trillion in federal spending to infrastructure projects over the next decade. Unfortunately, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, even $1 trillion may not fix the problem.

Every four years, the ASCE publishes its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. infrastructure. A brand new report is due out on March 9, but the most recent report from 2013 paints a bleak picture.

The ASCE gave the overall health of America’s infrastructure a D+ grade. Perhaps even more troubling, the ASCE estimated that U.S. infrastructure needs $3.6 trillion in investments by 2020.

Even Trump’s aggressive plan may fall well short of the type of investment America needs to keep critical infrastructure safe.

Related Link: What Happened To All The 'Shovel-Ready' Infrastructure Projects From The 2009 Stimulus Bill?

Report Card In Review

Here’s a summary of the letter grades the ASCE gave a number of different infrastructure categories back in 2013:

  • Aviation: D
  • Bridges: C+
  • Dams: D
  • Drinking Water: D
  • Energy: D+
  • Hazardous Waste: D
  • Inland Waterways: D-
  • Levees: D-
  • Ports: C
  • Public Parks & Recreation: C-
  • Rail: C+
  • Roads: D
  • Schools: D
  • Solid Waste: B-
  • Transit: D
  • Wastewater: D

“While the modest progress is encouraging, it is clear that we have a significant backlog of overdue maintenance across our infrastructure systems, a pressing need for modernization, and an immense opportunity to create reliable, long-term funding sources to avoid wiping out our recent gains,” the ASCE wrote.

As the Oroville Dam crisis illustrates, infrastructure maintenance eventually extends beyond a political issue and becomes a public safety issue. The upcoming 2017 ASCE report will likely serve as a reality check that Trump’s infrastructure spending initiative may only be a fraction of what the nation needs to alleviate the strain our growing population is placing on aging infrastructure.

Shares of the iShares S&P Global Infrastructure Index (NASDAQ: IGF) are up 0.2 percent since Election Day.

Image Credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America - Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Posted-In: ASCE Donald Trump Oroville DamEducation Specialty ETFs Politics ETFs General Best of Benzinga

 

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