California Infrastructure Lacking

March 1, 2012
Earns an overall grade of “C” from local civil engineers

California’s infrastructure investment has not kept up with the state’s growing population demands and is continuing to delay much-needed renewal and maintenance, according to the California Infrastructure Report Card 2012, (Report Card) issued by Region 9 of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Released Wednesday at the Capitol in Sacramento, the Report Card reveals that California’s infrastructure earned an overall grade of “C” and needs an additional annual investment of $65 billion.

In addition to issuing an overall grade, the Report Card provides an evaluation and letter grade for eight of California’s critical infrastructure areas: aviation, levees/flood control, ports, solid waste, transportation, urban runoff, wastewater and water systems. The grades are:

  • -Aviation: C+
  • -Levees/Flood Control: D
  • -Ports: B-
  • -Solid Waste: B
  • -Transportation: C-
  • -Urban Runoff: D+
  • -Wastewater: C+
  • -Water: C

“To remain a strong and prosperous state, we must maintain and continue to improve infrastructure that makes California’s quality of life second to none,” said Yaz Emrani, M.S., P.E., ASCE California Infrastructure Report Card Executive Committee co-chair.

The Report Card provides a state-focused report, similar to the American Society of Civil Engineer’s Report Card on America’s Infrastructure that looks at the nation’s infrastructure, and rated the overall infrastructure as a “D.” California’s overall grade of “C” is better than the nation as a whole.

ASCE developed the Report Card to create a consolidated document that offers a fact-based assessment of the state’s infrastructure.  Other goals of the report are to give the public and political leaders the ability to compare and contrast grades given to different categories of infrastructure, to advise them on ways to improve grades and to help them make better decisions on where to commit resources.  The Report Card highlights the condition of the state’s infrastructure so that the public and policymakers can make informed decisions on funding critical assets.  The Report Card concludes that California’s total annual unfunded infrastructure investment is $65 billion.

“Inadequate infrastructure is a drain on our economy and quality of life,” said Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S., FASCE, president-elect of ASCE.  “California’s Report Card will be extremely instrumental as the state’s leaders look for solutions and make tough decisions about priorities in lean times.  Investments in these critical infrastructure areas will provide countless benefits to its citizens, such as reducing traffic congestion and improving air and water quality.”

Over 100 civil engineering professionals with specialized technical expertise in the eight infrastructure categories, volunteered countless hours to produce the Report Card. They analyzed technical reports, inspection records, budgets, maintenance schedules and other documents to arrive at letter grades for the infrastructure. The committee members evaluated reports on the physical conditions of the infrastructure areas and studied funding sources and trends that impact maintenance and upgrades. In almost every category, lack of funding was cited as a reason for the low grades.

This is the second report of its kind for California. The first Report Card was issued in 2006 and gave the state’s infrastructure an overall grade of “C-”. The slight improvement in California’s overall grade can be attributed to the nearly $42 billion voter-approved infrastructure bonds in 2006.  However, that progress pales in comparison to the annual $65 billion investment as identified in the Report Card.

“Infrastructure Matters to Get California Working Again.”  This is not just a slogan, according to Mr. Emrani.  “Strong infrastructure is critical for fueling the economic engine of California.  The Report Card recommends public policy options and funding needed to rehabilitate and revitalize the state’s infrastructure.  Robust statewide infrastructure means a healthier economy, improved job base and higher quality of life for residents.”

Source: American Society of Civil Engineers

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