Orange County Branch Newsletter
National ASCE's 2013 Report Card
By: Fouad Abuhamdan (Fred Hamdan), P.E.
Every 4 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure that illustrates the condition and performance of the nation’s infrastructure in the common form of a school report card by assigning letter grades to each type of infrastructure. ASCE has recently released their 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure today, giving the U.S. an overall grade of D+ on infrastructure. While solid waste had the highest grade of B-, all other categories had grades ranging between C and D-. Fortunately, no categories saw a decline in grade this year.
According to the report, our infrastructure systems have diminished to a level that an investment $3.6 trillion will be required to rescue our infrastructure systems by 2020. The report indicated that anticipated funding is approximately $2.0 trillion leaving a funding gap of $1.6 trillion.
The ASCE report found that our major highways have a 42 percent congestion rate, costing the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually. Deficient transit systems drained $90 billion from the U.S. economy in 2010 alone. The cost of congestion and delays at our national airports was nearly $22 billion in 2012 and will rise to $34 billion by 2020 and $63 billion by 2040.
The report also indicated that the nation’s dams and levees are aging and the number of high-hazard structures is on the rise due to the increasing population and greater development below dams and levees. The number of deficient dams is currently more than 4,000. Officials have estimated that it will require an investment of $21 billion to repair these aging, yet critical, high-hazard dams, and about $100 billion to rehabilitate the levees.
As schools maintained a grade of D since 2005, experts now estimate the investment needed to modernize and maintain our nation’s school facilities is at least $270 billion.
The infrastructure of the golden state scored a “C” on their report card. Although California’s GPA was higher than the nation’s, the State’s report showed that 68% of California’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, 2,978 bridges in California are considered structurally deficient, and 807 dams are considered high hazard dams.
The State’s report also concluded that $39 billion in drinking water infrastructure and $30 billion in wastewater infrastructure are needed over the next 20 years. Furthermore, public facilities including schools and parks have approximately $30 billion in infrastructure funding needs.
“We are at a pivotal moment when it comes to maintaining and modernizing our nation’s infrastructure” said ASCE President Gregory E. DiLoreto. “Many of our roads, bridges, water systems, and our national electric grid were put into place over fifty years ago, and these systems are simply overwhelmed or worn out.”
It is apparent that our infrastructure systems are failing to keep pace with the current and expanding needs, and investments in infrastructure are fading. The current conditions of our infrastructure systems will require a commitment today to build safe, efficient, and effective infrastructure systems that will boost our economy and serve our nation.