Thursday, January 29, 2009

Engineers give U.S. infrastructure a 'D' grade, $2.2 trillion price tag

Environment News Service: America's infrastructure gets an overall grade of "D" and needs $2.2 trillion in repairs and upgrades over the next five years to meet adequate conditions, according to a new report by the nation's professional engineers.

The new 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, released today by the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE, assigns an overall grade of D to the nation as well as individual grades in 15 infrastructure categories, but no grade is higher than C+. "Decades of underfunding and inattention have endangered the nation's infrastructure," the engineers said today. Since the ASCE's last report card in 2005, there has been little change in the condition of America's roads, bridges, drinking water systems, and other public works.

But the cost of fixing these infrastructure problems has gone up. Deteriorating conditions and inflation have added hundreds of billions to the total cost of repairs and needed upgrades. ASCE's current estimate of $2.2 trillion is up from the $1.6 trillion estimated in 2005. "In 2009, all signs point to an infrastructure that is poorly maintained, unable to meet current and future demands, and in some cases, unsafe," the engineers warn.

…With the nation's infrastructure receiving renewed attention from the White House, Congress, and the public as part of an economic stimulus package, the Report Card offers informed guidance from professional engineers on where funds would best be spent....

Damage from Hurricane Isabel, photo by Butch Ducote, FEMA

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