Civil engineers say America’s infrastructure near failing: 7 things to know

By Chris Stewart
Friday, March 10, 2017

America’s civil engineers say the nation’s infrastructure is close to failing and it will take close to $2 trillion to fix.

The country rated D+ overall in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, an assessment generated every four years by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The cumulative GPA – based on 16 categories – remains unchanged from 2013.

The 2017 grades ranged from the only B rating, for rail, to a D- for transit, which the group says illustrates a lack of investment. Three categories – parks, solid waste, and transit – received a decline in grade this year, while seven – hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, rail, schools, and wastewater – slightly improved. Aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, and roads were unchanged.

A grade of D means infrastructure is in fair to poor condition and mostly below standard. Large portions of the system exhibit significant deterioration, and elements are approaching the end of their service life, prompting a serious concern of failure, according to the report.

Here are seven key facts from the report card about Ohio’s infrastructure:

An estimated 17 percent of the state’s 122,926 miles of public roads are in poor condition.

Almost 7 percent, or 1,942 bridges in Ohio, are structurally deficient. The state spent $388,533,469 on bridge capital projects in 2013.

Ohioans rack up $475 per motorist per year in costs from driving on roads in need of repair.

There are 362 high‐hazard potential dams, and 72 percent of Ohio’s regulated dams have an Emergency Action Plan.

Ohio ranks fourth nationally in miles of railroad with 5,288. The state has a $683 million gap in estimated school capital expenditures.

More than $14.5 billion will need to be spent during the next 20 years on wastewater infrastructure.

Failing infrastructure costs American families $3,400 a year due to costs made higher by inefficient and congested transportation systems and rundown electric and water systems, according to the report.

President Donald Trump campaigned on repairing the country’s infrastructure that he said was “going to hell.” Though few details have emerged from the White House, the president has described a $1 trillion plan that will reportedly use private investment to leverage government funds. Democrats are also pushing a large proposal that includes updates to water and sewer systems as well as replacement and expansion of outdated transportation infrastructure.

Increased investment from all levels of government and the private sector will need to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by 2025 if the gap is to be bridged, according the report card.

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