According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure is in need of some serious help. The overall GPA assigned to America’s roads was a dismal D+. The low grades are attributed to America’s crumbling infrastructure and aging roads.
In the 2013 Infrastructure Report Card released by the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s roads, dams, bridges and drinking water all received low marks. A committee of approximately 30 reputable civil engineers was assembled for the number crunching, scoring project. The average bridge in the U.S. is at least 42-years-old. Engineers consider aging bridges structurally deficient and at risk for collapse. Although the 2013 GPA showed minor improvement from the 2009 D grade, the report shows that there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The report scored several different categories in the report card. Bridges, aviation, dams, energy, drinking water, levees, public parks, hazardous waste, ports, public safety, railways, solid waste, transit and schools were all evaluated as a part of the project.
Building for the Future
Many groups stress the importance of proactively investing in the nation’s aging infrastructure for future generations. In addition to ensuring the suitability of the infrastructure for years to come, others highlight the impact this could have on the economy. Some suggest that a considerable investment sets the stage for a growing economy. In addition to job growth, an improvement in quality of life will result from repairs and upgrades.
Civil engineers are most concerned about the aging bridges. With many of them already being classified as structurally deficient, repairs for them are really a hazard to commuters. Bridges in urban areas appear to be most at risk for causing dangerous accidents. While some construction projects may be scheduled down to every possible detail, including the construction trash chute, other renovation projects may remain underfunded with lack of proper public support and advocacy.
Conservative figures estimate that approximately $3.6 trillion is needed to upgrade America’s entire infrastructure. Some researchers say that the stimulus funds did help in making minor improvements, but that more money should be invested. By 2020, the goal is to get America’s overall infrastructure grade to a respectable B. In order to accomplish this, approximately $1.6 trillion will be necessary in addition to the money already allocated toward improvements. Projected spending for the necessary upgrades across all of the sectors rated sits at $2 trillion.