New Report Card Shows Nation’s Infrastructure Deteriorating
The condition of the nation’s public works infrastructure, including transportation, drinking water and wastewater systems, has declined overall since 2001, a new assessment by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) shows. The American Public Works Association (APWA) joined ASCE and the United States Conference of Mayors today to release the 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which assigned the nation’s infrastructure a grade of D.
"The 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure highlights the enormous problem we face in our nation – our deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure," said APWA President Tom Trice. "We are falling behind in the maintenance and upgrading of some our most important public assets, our roads and transit systems, our drinking water and wastewater systems and our navigable waterways."
The 2005 Report Card’s infrastructure grade of D represents a decline from the grade of D+ assigned in 2001. Overall, the new assessment finds that the nation’s infrastructure investment gap now totals $1.6 trillion for needed improvements over the next five years from all levels of government and the private sector.
"We as a nation cannot afford to ignore an infrastructure investment gap that is at the root of our growing traffic congestion, our overburdened sewer systems and our aging drinking water infrastructure," Trice said. "If we hope to remain competitive in the global economy and improve the quality of life in all our communities, we must reinvest in our public works infrastructure."
The 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure assesses the same 12 infrastructure categories as its predecessor in 2001: aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, navigable waterways, roads, schools, solid waste, transit and wastewater. In addition the assessment added three new categories—public parks and recreation, rail and security.
While there has been some improvement in aviation and schools, ASCE’s analysis indicates that overall conditions have remained the same for bridges, dams and solid waste, and worsened in roads, drinking water, transit, wastewater, hazardous waste, navigable waterways and energy.
"The nation needs to act now to reverse a trend of increasing infrastructure deterioration, because if we do not, it will cost us all more in reduced safety, lower productivity and a poorer quality of life," Trice said.