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News Alert: Civil Engineers Upgrade US Infrastructure To C- From D+

News Alert: Civil Engineers Upgrade US Infrastructure To C- From D+

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the nation's infrastructure an overall grade of C-minus, up from a grade of D-plus four years ago, the association revealed Wednesday in its quadrennial report card.

The evaluation was based on an evaluation of 17 infrastructure categories, including roads, bridges, ports, rail, aviation and inland waterways.

2021 report card (with comparison to four years ago):

  • Roads: D (D)
  • Bridges: C (C+)
  • Ports: B- (C+)
  • Rail: B (B)
  • Aviation: D+ (D)
  • Inland waterways: D+ (D)

While there was "incremental progress" in some areas, "U.S. infrastructure gets a D-range grade in 11 of 17 areas because the U.S. has failed to make investments just to keep up our roads, transit systems and more," ASCE stated. The association noted that the COVID-19 pandemic adds to the challenge because states are decreasing infrastructure funding.

Transit received the lowest grade of D-minus, while rail earned the highest grade of B. Bridges, with a grade of C, was the only category that had a declining grade for 2021.

"If the United States is serious about achieving an infrastructure system fit for the future some specific steps must be taken, beginning with increased, long-term, consistent investment," ASCE stated. "To close the $2.0 trillion 10-year investment gap, meet future needs and restore our global competitive advantage, we must increase investment from all levels of government and the private sector from 2.5% to 3.5% of U.S. gross domestic product by 2025."

Investment must begin with the following steps, according to ASCE:

  • Congress should fully fund authorized programs.
  • Infrastructure owners and operators must charge, and Americans must be willing to pay, rates reflecting the true cost of using, maintaining and improving infrastructure.
  • The surface transportation investment gap is the largest deficit in the categories of infrastructure ASCE examines. Continuing to defer maintenance and modernization is impacting our ability to compete in a global marketplace and maintain a high quality of living domestically. Congress must fix the Highway Trust Fund.
  • All parties should strive to close the rural/urban and underserved community resource divide by ensuring adequate investment in these areas through programmatic set asides.
  • All parties should make use of public-private partnerships, where appropriate.

This article will be updated.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


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