The True Cost Of Fixing America's Infrastructure

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 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: ASCEDonald TrumpOroville DamEducationSpecialty ETFsPoliticsETFsGeneral

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.