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America's GPA: D+
Estimated Investment Needed by 2020:
$3.6 Trillion

New Game Changers are here!

September 20th, 2016 | By: Becky Moylan

Today we added 15 new #GameChangers and two new trends to the repertoire. These projects showcase the power that innovation and investment can have to solve problems and improve our infrastructure. “Rebuilding Stronger” and “Sustainable Solutions” are the new trends we’ve identified that are shaping the way infrastructure is designed, built, and maintained. The projects in these two new trends demonstrate that resilient and sustainable infrastructure are more than buzz words—they are tangible solutions to the new challenges U.S. infrastructure is facing. Check out all the new #GameChangers: And if you know of one we’ve missed, let us know. We’re on the hunt for #GameChangers to include in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card.

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National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit Talks Infrastructure

August 11th, 2016 | By: Maria Matthews

This week the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) held its  annual Legislative Summit in Chicago.  Approximately 5,000 state legislators, legislative staffers, federal officials and others gathered to gain invaluable knowledge from experts and fellow legislators to take back to their respective states. Attendees participated in an array of policy-producing committee meetings, issue forums and deep-dive sessions, including on infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers attended to lend our expertise and share the message of the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and the Failure to Act economic study during sessions and in conversation. One such session was on the “Multisector P3 Partnership,” which featured national experts and state leaders discussing emerging policy issues surrounding the expanding P3 industry and its potential role in helping strengthen public infrastructure assets in water, energy, transportation and others. Another session of note, titled “Crystal Clear? State Efforts to Improve Water Planning,” was a panel discussion on how states are working to bring together the agriculture industry, urban areas and clean water advocates to address efforts to maintain healthy water resources, and consider future demand and supply of this important resource. This session featured ASCE Past-President Greg DiLoreto P.E., P.LS., D. WRE, Pres.13.ASCE and fellow panelists Tom Curtis, former deputy executive director of American Water Works Association, John Covington from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Chris Kolb from the Michigan Environmental Council. The conversation included a discussion of the infrastructure investment gap, funding mechanisms including state revolving funds, and how to ensure drinking water quality. This session was one of eight session chosen to be live streamed and archived on the Summit’s website.    

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California’s Orange County Infrastructure Isn’t Improving

July 21st, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

The Orange County Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers today released its 2016 Orange County Infrastructure Report Card, grading 12 categories of the county’s infrastructure, resulting in an overall grade point average of “C+.” The Report Card was developed in collaboration with the UC Irvine Civil and Environmental Engineering Affiliates, an advisory group to the UCI Samueli School’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. A team of professional engineers from Orange County assessed the 12 categories, including Aviation (A-), Electric Power (C-), Flood Control & Levees (C-), Ground Transportation (C), Natural Gas (B-), Oil (B-), Parks, Recreation & Environment (C+), School Facilities (C), Solid Waste (B), Surface Water Quality (D+), Wastewater (B), and Water Supply (B). This is the fourth Orange County Infrastructure Report Card. The first, released in 2002, gave the county’s infrastructure a GPA of “C;” in subsequent releases in 2005 and 2010, the GPA has stayed constant at a “C+.” “In this first assessment of Orange County’s infrastructure since the 2008 recession, we found that while some areas have improved incrementally, others have declined, leaving our overall GPA stalled for more than a decade,” said Yaz Emrani, P.E., OC Infrastructure Report Card Chair. “Since our infrastructure works as a system, it’s important that Orange County increase investment so that we can move our infrastructure from ‘catching up’ to ‘ready for the future.’” The 2016 Orange County Infrastructure Report Card finds that much of the county’s infrastructure needs additional investment to keep up with demand. Of note:
  • While commercial traffic at John Wayne Airport approaches the current negotiated passenger limit of 10.8 million annual passengers until 2020, both general aviation and military demand fall short of meeting Orange County’s available capacity.
  • Funding shortfalls for needed upgrades to bring regional flood control facilities in the county to its standards continue to be in excess of $2.7 billion.
  • Deferred maintenance during the recent recession has exacerbated ground transportation needs. The existing funding sources are inadequate to meet the current and future demand, and it is estimated Orange County needs an additional $133 million annually.
  • The condition of school facilities has declined in the past five years due to lack of funding.
  • Due to increased volume of stormwater runoff during storm events, existing surface water quality infrastructure in Orange County does not have nearly the capacity to meet wet weather demands.
Given these infrastructure challenges, the Orange County Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers urges a number of recommendations to raise the grades, including:
  • Performing continuous and timely maintenance on the infrastructure to prolong use and minimize the need for costly repairs.
  • Conducting comprehensive planning and long-term investment to ensure sound decisions about infrastructure.
  • Preserving the environment while fostering economic growth and personal mobility.
To view the full Orange County report, visit www.ASCECAReportCard.org.

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Water Financing Experts Share Ideas to Improve Local Infrastructure

July 20th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

This Tuesday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted a day-long event in Washington, D.C., for representatives from the public and private sectors to discuss emerging finance methods for addressing deficient community water infrastructure. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy opened the day stressing the need to “start thinking about these [water resources projects] as investments, not expenses.” She went on the recognize the success of the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which has provided over $111 billion to communities since 1987 for water resources projects. Tuesday’s event included a mixture of expert panel presentations and follow-up discussions designed to address water infrastructure financing issues from a variety of federal, state, and local perspectives. The first panel of the day included municipal leaders from Jackson, Mississippi, and Atlanta, Georgia. The panelists emphasized the importance of seeking out new regional community partnerships and emerging public-private partnerships, like Atlanta’s Care and Conserve program, as ways to fund water-related projects. The second panel discussion included leaders from several federal agencies and departments and addressed the critical need for greater integration of federal programs supporting water infrastructure investment in economically disadvantaged communities.  Harriet Tregoning, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), lamented that while a person’s zip code shouldn’t have an impact on their basic quality of life water quality disparity is a tragic example of the social inequity that exists between communities. In ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the drinking water and wastewater categories both received “D” grades reflecting some of the challenges these leaders are trying to address. This week’s EPA conference shows agencies, departments, and service providers from across the country are trying to make changes, coming together to share the information, and make water infrastructure financing a greater reality for American communities nationwide, but there is still so much more to do. Find out what we can do to raise these grades. Written by James Kirk, ASCE’s Government Relations intern.

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New Jersey Infrastructure Receives D+ Report Card

June 16th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

NJRC logoToday, the 2016 Report Card for New Jersey’s Infrastructure gave an overall D+ grade for the State’s infrastructure. The report evaluated 13 separate components of New Jersey’s infrastructure, all of which were given a grade based on the components’ condition, capacity, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.  The transit and levee components received the lowest grade of D-, while solid waste received the highest grade of B-.  The other individual grades were: bridges (D+), dams (D), drinking water (C), energy (C+), hazardous waste (C), parks (D+), ports (C), rail (C), roads (D+), and wastewater (D). Throughout the report, the New Jersey Section of the ASCE calls attention to numerous challenges confronting the state’s vast and diverse infrastructure, many of which are magnified by the dangerous insolvency facing New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).  Key issues concerning infrastructure in the Garden State include:
  • Of the state’s 6,657 bridges, the report found that 1 in 11 are classified as structurally deficient and the average age of New Jersey bridges is 51 years. More than 40% of the state’s bridges are expected to require repair or replacement in the near future.
  • No single agency exists to oversee New Jersey’s 126 miles of levees, despite numerous reports citing significant condition issues with levees across the state.
  • 42% of New Jersey’s roadway system is deficient, with many highways now past their anticipated lifespan. Deficient roads are costing the average driver $1,951 each year.
  • 213 high and significant hazard dams in New Jersey are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, and hundreds of millions of dollars will be necessary to repair them.
  • If the approaching insolvency of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is not addressed, there will be no permanent revenue source for the billions of dollars of critical investment that is needed in the state’s bridges, transit systems, railways, and roads.
Mindful of the future, however, the New Jersey Section of the ASCE included in the Report Card three major steps to begin improving the overall condition of the state’s infrastructure:
  1. Establish a long-term funding source for the Transportation Trust Fund. This will generate the funds needed for highway, rail and transit projects.
  2. As evidenced by the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the state needs to continue to invest in resilient infrastructure that can better withstand severe weather events and limit the need for frequent, costly maintenance in the future.
  3. In order to address infrastructure assets facing delayed maintenance or replacement, the state must implement new technology and updated strategies to prioritize infrastructure investment.
The 2016 Report Card for New Jersey’s Infrastructure was created as a snapshot of the present state of New Jersey’s infrastructure, as well as a guide for improving infrastructure in the future. Read more about the report, challenges facing New Jersey’s infrastructure, and ways to meet those challenges at www.infrastructurereportcard.org/NJ.  

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Closing America’s Infrastructure Gap

May 9th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

fta 2016

Failure to Act – 2016 Report

Infrastructure is the backbone of our economy and when it’s not maintained all Americans feel the effects, but what does that look like in dollars for my family, my business and the overall economy? The American Society of Civil Engineers’ new economic study, Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future will be released on May 10th and will highlight exactly how much America’s infrastructure investment gap is impacting the U.S. economy and household income. The report quantifies how the failure to invest in our aging infrastructure impacts the economy, including:
  • GDP
  • jobs
  • personal disposable income, and
  • business sales.
Download the new report.    

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Infrastructure in the News: Invest Now or Pay Later

April 15th, 2016 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

Water and transit have each had their fair share of media attention this week. Water Week has highlighted our nation’s water infrastructure conditions and transit hearings and incidents are reinforcing investment needs. Water Week highlighted diverse needs across the country as more than 100 water and wastewater utility managers, operators and engineers visited Washington, D.C. to advocate for more federal investment in water infrastructure. There have been many articles about the state of our nation’s drinking water, water main ruptures, and water infrastructure overall, further pointing to the need for solid investment and maintenance. Transit needs also continue to dominate the news. While transit centers in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India and China are building new subways, subways in even our wealthiest cities are suffering from lack of maintenance. In our nation’s capital, the Metro subway system has been encountering many issues lately that have prompted Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to work towards a diligent plan of repair and maintenance.  In order to provide adequate maintenance, Metro needs $25 billion over the next 10 years to run the system.  Yet Congress denied Metro increased funding to put towards Metro repairs. It is important to have a holistic view of infrastructure, because poor transit and water infrastructure affects our competitiveness as a nation overall. An article in MSN explained how declining quality, reliability and safety of our transportation infrastructure affects business costs and job growth. In just a few weeks, ASCE will be releasing its updated Failure to Act Economic Study to reflect the latest numbers on how failing to invest in infrastructure is affecting our nation’s competitiveness. In order to meet the increasing demands of our nation’s water and transit needs, it is important that local, state and federal governments work together to find long-term, sustainable funding that will revitalize these sectors.

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Infrastructure in the News: Transit issues escalate, water needs rise

March 25th, 2016 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

The past two weeks have been packed with infrastructure crises and attention—as our nation’s water and transit have received both media attention and public scrutiny. Last week, the nation’s second busiest subway system, the D.C. Metro, shut down for one full day in order to undergo thorough inspection due to electrical malfunctions. CBS reported that Metro identified 26 areas where damaged jumper cables and connector boots exist. The abundance of damaged cables reveal a lack of investment. “We need to invest in our system once and for all. We need to establish the dedicated funding source,” said Jack Evans, Metro chair. While the D.C. metro’s maintenance needs are pressing, this is just one example of transit needs nationwide. The BART System in San Francisco also experienced service disruptions that led to a flurry of frustrated tweets from users. BART decided to explain that the system, built more than 40 years ago, was not designed to carry the number of passengers who take it today. The Twitter handle went on to highlight the need to increase investment in order to allow the system to function at its best. Aside from transit woes, our nation’s water infrastructure needs remain in the headlines.  March 22 was World Water Day, where the White House and 150 other institutions pledged more than $5 billion to improve water accessibility and quality across the nation. The recent Flint tragedy reminds us just how important water is to our communities—and yet how fragile our nation’s water infrastructure is. CNBC reported that our water crises goes beyond Flint, and EPA data shows that only nine states are reporting safe levels of lead in their water supply. The Hill reported on the condition of our nation’s water infrastructure, showing how drinking water contamination, water scarcity, and beleaguered ports and waterways make water one of the nation’s most critical issues. Whether it’s transit or water issues, the common denominator behind these pressing needs is lack of investment. On ABC’s television show “Scandal” Thursday night, character Mellie Grant even made reference to the need to increase investment through the gas tax to #FixTheTrustFund. It is important that all levels of government demonstrate leadership and look for ways to ensure the maximum funding possible for our aging infrastructure nationwide.  

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Looking Into Humboldt County’s Water Infrastructure

March 24th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

HC water cover imageToday the North Coast Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers released a new 2016 Report Card for Humboldt County’s Water Infrastructure to show the state of the water infrastructure across 19 water systems within Humboldt County, California. The report found that today’s water infrastructure earned a good B grade overall, but to keep a good grade, planning must begin today for the infrastructure that is aging and will need replacement over the next 10 years. The report shows that over the next 5 to 10 years, local agencies need to plan for approximately $90 million in investments to maintain the existing system at its current condition. ASCE was joined by several owners and operators to release the new report; the speakers included:
  • Yoash Tilles, P.E. Chair, Report Card for Humboldt County’s Infrastructure
  • Cameron Muir, E.I.T, Practitioner Adviser, ASCE North Coast Branch
  • Barbara Hecathorn, President, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Board of Directors
  • George Wheeler, President, McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors
  • Greg Orsini, General Manager, McKinleyville Community Services District
  • Michael Flockhart, Public Works Director, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria
  • Marcus Drumm, General Manager, Loleta Community Services District
  • Mark Lovelace, 3rd District Humboldt County Board of Supervisors
This effort follows the release of the Report Card for Humboldt County’s Transportation Infrastructure  in 2014 which reviewed the area’s transportation needs. Together, these reports provide citizens a clear look at today’s challenges and tomorrow’s needs.

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D.C. Infrastructure Report Card Gives C- Overall, Lowest Grade to Levees

January 14th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

The 2016 Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure is an independent review of the current state of infrastructure needs, capability and funding in D.C. by the National Capital Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Report Card was written over the past year by ASCE members from the D.C. region who assigned the grades according to the following eight criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. The report grades the infrastructure assets and is not a reflection of the agencies and professionals who work every day to solve infrastructure issues. It is a tool that shows the condition and importance of D.C.’s vital infrastructure assets that support our daily life or can interrupt our lives if we don’t maintain them. To put it another way, if you drive or ride in D.C., if you drink the water or flush a toilet in D.C., or if you just want infrastructure that works – this Report Card is for you. In the 2016 Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure, ASCE assessed 11 categories of infrastructure and found that 3 of them earned poor D grades, 6 earned mediocre C grades, and 2 earned B grades. Levees earned the lowest grade in the Report Card at a D-. Levees protect the capitol area from flooding as well as the Anacostia Bolling base, and both have earned “Unacceptable” ratings creating a need for emergency repairs and an additional $5 million would be needed to finish the work to protect the capitol area. Transit received a D grade due primarily to the condition of Metro system and the safety implications of a lack of consistent funding and focus on maintenance. While bright spots exist with new Metrobuses, Circulator bus success, and an innovative Capital Bikeshare, with 85% of D.C.’s commuters using Metro, it should be clear that this should be a priority not only in D.C. but also for each stakeholder in this system. While we know D.C. Roads are congested, the D+ grade for roads is in large part due to DDOT needing 4 times its current maintenance budget. For every dollar of need, there’s only a quarter to spend. School facilities earned a grade of C- with more than 49 schools reporting at least one “poor” condition structural element, impacting more than 14,000 students. However, almost half of D.C. schools have been modernized which show a tremendous leap in the right direction and a clear investment in D.C.’s future. Energy earned a C with $3 billion needed for electricity upgrades and $650 million need to replace 50-year old natural gas pipelines. Both water and wastewater were given grades of C+. With pipes’ median age being about 79 years old, we shouldn’t be surprised that there are 400 to 550 pipe breaks each year, but we’re starting to replace 1% per year and renew the clean drinking water infrastructure residents use. Wastewater work is happening right now to expand the capacity of our system that will not only prevent neighborhood flooding but improve the quality of the Anacostia River. Solid Waste earned a grade of C+. Our city’s growth is requiring an increase of trucks to take away our waste. While 10% more of it is recycled than a decade ago, we still need to make progress to reach the long-term goal of 45%. We have more Parks per person in D.C. than almost any place in the U.S. yet 50% of D.C.’s open spaces have challenges leading to a C+ grade. Rail received a B- grade due to the significant private investment of CSX in their rail infrastructure and the Virginia Avenue Rail Tunnel allowing 400,000 freight carloads to pass through D.C. While more capacity is need for rail and passengers, future plans being set today could serve D.C.’s needs and improve our congestion. Finally, D.C. Bridges received a B-, one of the highest grades, showing tremendous progress in reducing the structurally deficient bridges from 8% to 3% in just 3 years. The future will require consistent maintenance of older bridges reaching the end of their lifespan, but improvements like this show that diligent management, maintenance, and investment together create the changes we need to see. The Report Card shows us the condition and needs in a letter grade, but what is very clear when you read this report is that innovative solutions to our challenges, like DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, are going to shape D.C.’s future if we let them. Yes, we have infrastructure challenges, but there are solutions to each of them and some are already on the way and some we need to support to make reality. We’re also going to need to get back to the basics – maintenance needs to be as essential to our budgets as water for hot coffee in the morning. With innovation and maintenance, we can prepare for the future and modernize the infrastructure that will serve us and future generations.

Read the full 2016 Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure.

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