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ASCE's Infrastructure Report Card: D- for transit, B for rail


A national report card that gave public transportation a D- grade for infrastructure this week demonstrates the need for investment in the industry, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced yesterday.

Earlier this week, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. public transportation a D- grade, even as it acknowledged the growth in demand for public transit, APTA officials noted in a press release.

"With the lowest grade of all the infrastructure categories, public transportation is unfortunately the poster child for our country's underinvestment in infrastructure. This low grade underlines the need for greater investment in public transportation," said APTA Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Richard White.

The ASCE issues its "report card" on the condition, performance and needed investments for improvement of the nation's infrastructure every four years. For 2017, it gave the United States a D+ overall for its infrastructure systems.

The report noted that the nation's transit systems have been "chronically underfunded" and collectively face a $90 billion backlog of infrastructure rehabilitation needs. This year, the report's transit section included commuter rail, which was included in the "rail" chapter in the 2013 report card.

"Transit in America continues to grow, carrying 10.5 billion trips in 2015 and adding new lines and systems every year," the report stated. "Yet the symptoms of overdue maintenance and underinvestment have never been clearer."

One of ASCE's recommendations was to "encourage additional investment at all levels of government and relevant areas that focus on reducing the backlog of rehabilitation needs," APTA noted.

"Continuing to underinvest in public transportation will hurt the economic well-being of our towns and cities across the country," said White. "We don't need another wake-up call. Let's move forward in implementing an infrastructure initiative that increases investment in public transportation and helps communities nationwide."

Meanwhile, rail transportation earned a B on the ASCE Report Card.

"The private freight-rail industry owns the vast majority of the nation's rail infrastructure, and continues to make significant capital investment — $27.1 billion in 2015 — to ensure the network's good condition," the report stated. "U.S. rail still faces clear challenges, most notably in passenger rail, which faces the dual problems of aging infrastructure and insufficient funding." 

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More News from 3/10/2017