The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases a report on the state of the USA’s general infrastructure both on a Federal and State level every few years, with the previous report being issued in 2013.
The ASCE conducts this detailed report in sixteen major target areas of infrastructure, such as Roads, Transit, Rail, Inland Waterways, Wastewater and Drinking water to name a few.
Overall the ASCE gave the USA Infrastructure at a Federal level a D+ Grade.
This indicates that the infrastructure is at a fair to a poor level, meaning that a majority of the infrastructure is at the end of its useful life with a strong risk of failure.
This could have a wide-reaching impact on the level of service of the USA as a whole, impacting on a wide range of factors from general inconvenience, to major impact on GDP.
Infrastructure expenditure has become a political priority for the new US federal administration.
Rating Improvement and Decline since 2013
On a specific service level, there have been some general improvements from the 2013 Infrastructure, which also received a D+ Grade.
The main improvement areas being Inland Waterways moving up from a D- to a D and Rail moving from a C+ to a B.
However, there have also been falling in other areas such as Solid Waste or Transit which moved from a B- to a C+ and a D to a D- respectively.
While the 2017 Report shows that there has been some good improvement in areas such as the freight rail system due to investment from their majority private owners, with passenger rail still needing more funding and upkeep.
In general other areas of infrastructure that have continued growth, such as Transit, have come into a poor state due to the extreme lack of funding and upkeep with the expansion.
The declining state of US infrastructure is not a new topic, and the issue has been known for many years.
The agreement is needed on service levels, how to manage changes in demand, the risks associated with aging and declining infrastructure and also how to pay for the work that is needed.
The analysis of the different areas of US infrastructure, and how to meet service level, demand, risk, and lifecycle management challenges can be completed using infrastructure management tools, techniques, and planning.
The discussion and agreement around the funding of the required work are a political matter.
The declining state of US infrastructure and the growing size of the problem suggests political and funding solutions will need to be found across all levels of US government Federal, State and Local.
PHOTO CREDIT: 2017 Infrastructure Report Card website screenshot