Reston, Va. — On March 9, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, giving the nation’s roads, bridges, airports, rail and transit, ports, water systems, dams, energy systems, and other sectors a cumulative D+ grade. In addition to examining current infrastructure conditions and needs and assigning grades, the Report Card makes recommendations to raise those grades.
Since 1988, the ASCE has periodically assessed the condition of major categories of infrastructure and reported its conclusions in an Infrastructure Report Card, assigning grades ranging from A to F. The last Report Card, released in 2013, also gave the nation’s infrastructure a D+ grade; the highest grade ever given in any individual sector is a B.
Comparing 2017 with 2013, grades in three categories (Parks, Solid Waste, and Transit) declined; grades in seven categories (Hazardous Waste, Inland Waterways, Levees, Ports, Rail, Schools, and Wastewater) improved slightly; and grades in six categories (Aviation, Bridges, Dams, Drinking Water, Energy, and Roads) were unchanged.
In addition to examining current infrastructure conditions and needs and assigning grades, the Report Card makes recommendations to raise those grades.
“Quite a few of ASCE’s past recommendations have come to fruition, such as creating a National Dam Rehabilitation Program and state gas tax increases to raise investment in surface transportation,” wrote Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., 2017 president, American Society of Civil Engineers, in a preface to the 2017 Report Card. “Yet, the overarching solutions remain the same because the underlying challenges have yet to be effectively addressed. That’s why, in 2017, we’re leading with investment. Without real funding, every other solution can be implemented but the $2 trillion question will still be looming. In infrastructure, you get what you pay for and for decades we haven’t been paying nearly enough. It shows in the grades.”
The following infrastructure categories — and corresponding grades — are presented in the Report Card:
- Aviation: D
- Bridges: C+
- Dams: D
- Drinking Water: D
- Energy: D+
- Hazardous Waste: D+
- Inland Waterways: D
- Levees: D
- Parks & Recreation: D+
- Ports: C+
- Rail: B
- Roads: D
- Schools: D+
- Solid Waste: C+
- Transit: D-
- Wastewater: D+
The ASCE’s Infrastructure Report Card is prepared by the association’s Committee on America’s Infrastructure, comprising 28 civil engineers from across the country. According to ASCE, the committee assesses all relevant data and reports, consults with technical and industry experts, and assigns grades using the following criteria for each category: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.
View and download the complete report, including state-by-state reviews, at www.infrastructurereportcard.org.