America has a Report Card on its infrastructure, given by the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE). What grade does the country get?
Hint: It’s not even a “Gentleman’s C.”
In fact, if a schoolchild came home with America’s infrastructure grade, the kid would be grounded for a year.
The ASCE assigns grades from A to F on the basis of “physical condition and needed fiscal investments for improvement,” according to the ASCE web site. An overall GPA is given to the nation as a whole, and to each state. Grades are also broken down by infrastructure type, such as water and environment, transportation (bridges, roads, ports, transit, etc.), public facilities, and energy.
The nation’s overall grade is a D+. The nation has been getting poor grades for many years. “Since 1998,” says the ASCE, “the grades have been near failing, averaging only Ds, due to delayed maintenance and underinvestment across most categories.”
Of the 16 specific categories, 12 get grades in the D- to D+ range. The four highest grades are bridges (C+), ports (C), rail (C+), and solid waste (B-).
The estimated investment needed by 2020 to fix all this is a whopping $3.6 trillion.
Are you surprised by our near-failing grades?
If you were in charge, what would you do?
What would you fix first? Where would you start?