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ASCE report card: Nation's infrastructure condition rates a 'D'


Yesterday, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, and the latest grade isn’t a good one. The ASCE assigned a cumulative “D” grade to the condition of the nation's infrastructure, noting that decades of underfunding and inattention have “jeopardized the ability of our nation's infrastructure to support our economy.”

Since ASCE's last assessment in 2005, “there has been little change in the condition of the nation's roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other public works, and the cost of improvement has increased by more than half a trillion dollars,” ASCE officials said in a prepared statement.

The organization graded 15 infrastructure categories according to capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety and resilience. Among the latest grades, rail rated a C-minus, the same mark it was assigned in 2005. Transit rated a D, down from a previous D-plus; roads rated a D-minus, down from a D; bridges rated a C, the same mark as in 2005; inland waterways rated another D; and aviation rated a D, down from a D-plus.

The ASCE suggests that there are five ways to raise the nation's infrastructure grade: by increasing federal leadership in infrastructure; promoting sustainability and resilience; developing federal, state and regional infrastructure plans; addressing life-cycle costs and ongoing maintenance; and increasing and improving infrastructure investment from all stakeholders.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/29/2009