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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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Innovations in Infrastructure: Necessity is the mother of invention

August 5th, 2016 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

With 42 percent of the major urban highways in the U.S. congested and the problem only predicted to increase, there is a great need for our road and traffic systems to be modernized to prepare for and accommodate this congestion. Fortunately, cities around the nation have started utilizing technological solutions to help alleviate some of these mounting transportation frustrations. A few ways engineers and manufacturers will be able to ameliorate these problems through traffic signal synchronization, talking cars and future road construction, as illustrated in this infographic on “Technology and the Future of America’s Infrastructure”. one example of how this is happening right now is in Los Angeles, where magnetic sensors were set up across the city to send real-time traffic data to a central command, which adjusts the timing of traffic signals based on congestion. This process took more than 20 years to complete, but has reduced travel times by 12 percent while increasing average speeds by 16 percent. Cities like San Francisco and Seattle are implementing electronic signs and sensors to reveal available parking spaces in order to help alleviate parking space related congestion. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has created a new web application called Traffic Signals Asset Management (TSAMS), a pre-populated database that consolidates information about 8,700 traffic signals located on state routes to improve the management of traffic signals. Recently the U.S. DOT announced its commitment to using technology to make transportation more accessible through programs like the Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI), which seeks technology-based solutions to improving transportation accessibility and mobility. Each of these innovative steps forward are promising to the future of our nation’s transportation system. To read more about innovative solutions across different infrastructure sectors, check out ASCE’s #GameChangers report.

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Congratulations USDOT Smart Cities Challenge Winner, Columbus!

June 28th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) revealed Columbus, Ohio, was the winner of their Smart Cities Challenge, showcasing an innovative transportation strategy made possible through investment in smart city technology. Like ASCE’s #GameChangers project which shows inspiring examples of innovative trends happening with our nation’s infrastructure, all 77 of the proposals submitted to the Challenge from across the country show how much potential can be unleashed with innovative concepts and new ideas. Columbus’ proposal calls for autonomous transit shuttles between neighborhoods and urban centers, expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure, and universal fare cards that allow cardholders to pay for any form of public transit using a variety of payment methods. Columbus and USDOT officials believe these investments will modernize transportation across the city, while opening up greater access to healthcare and jobs for families living in lower income areas. As the winner of the Smart Cities Challenge, Columbus will receive $40 million from USDOT, $10 million from Vulcan, Inc. and $90 million in matching grants from other local private partners to bring their proposal into reality. Raising America’s infrastructure grades starts with great projects like this one in Columbus, but every project should be an opportunity to change the infrastructure game and build the cities of the future. Tell us what’s happening near you to change the infrastructure in, around, and under your city.

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Infrastructure in the News: Innovative and sexy are in, old and dilapidated are out

June 3rd, 2016 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

With Dam Safety Awareness Day and the kickoff of Innovation Month, water, transportation, and dam infrastructure continue to be a topic of discussion in the media. Monday was National Dam Safety Awareness Day, which raised awareness about the need for dam safety protocols and procedures to protect the public from danger potentially caused by failing dams. Alabama is the only state without a dam safety program, which means the state does not have a record of how many dams there are in the state or what condition they are all in. Without a dam safety program, Alabama also doesn’t have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that is required in other states. While this is only one state, it underscores the need for nationwide awareness about the urgency of proper dam safety procedures. You can learn more by visiting livingneardams.org. In addition to dam safety, this week is the start of the U.S. DOT’s Innovation Month, which highlights the importance of confronting our infrastructure challenges and striving to develop new ideas and solutions that move us forward.  ASCE’s Gamechangers report identifies great examples of innovative projects across a number of infrastructure sectors, and shows the benefits that communities experience when they choose to invest and innovate. Innovation, however, is simply not enough to restore our water, roads, dams and bridges that need serious attention. A story in CBS detailed the state of our “crumbling bridges, cratered roads and leaking metros,” explaining how people prefer groundbreakings and openings over the routine work of infrastructure maintenance. Because of this mindset, the cost of fixing the country’s aging infrastructure is estimated to be around $1 trillion over the next decade. An article in Forbes discussed the need to make infrastructure “sexy” again, emphasizing the tremendous importance that well-maintained infrastructure plays in our quality of life and overall competitiveness as a nation. An article in VICE News shone a light on U.S. rail infrastructure in comparison with the recent opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, underscoring the investment needs of our rail infrastructure. In order to improve our infrastructure and build a foundation for innovation, it is important that local, state and federal governments work together to find long-term, sustainable funding that will allow for such improvement.

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Infrastructure in the News: National Parks, Aviation and Innovation

April 22nd, 2016 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

It’s National Park Week, the Senate passed its version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill, and more suggestions for improving infrastructure through technological innovation have been floating around the week’s news headlines. This year marks the 100th anniversary of our National Park Service. According to National Geographic, the National Park maintenance backlog has reached nearly $12 billion, the worst in the system’s history. It is important to invest in our nation’s national parks not only because they are popular, but because of the economic value they offer. In March, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the National Park Service Centennial Act, which would provide nearly $50 million annually for national park needs. Also, the energy bill that the Senate just passed, would add $25 million for these park projects as well as $150 million for deferred park maintenance needs. While these funding initiatives are a step in the right direction, much more needs to be done to protect and maintain our National Park System for the next 100 years. This week was also a big one for aviation as the Senate finally passed the FAA Reauthorization Bill.  House leadership must now decide whether to try to amend the Senate’s bill to more closely resemble Rep. Shuster’s bill, which includes air traffic control privatization, or to pass a less controversial version of the bill. The current extension of FAA runs until July 15. An op-ed in The Hill expands upon the importance of modernizing our airports to make sure they can accommodate increased passenger and cargo demand. The article also suggests that modernizing the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) user fee would be a good step in that direction, as it would allow more local control thereby making airports less reliant on increasingly limited federal funds. Unfortunately neither the House nor Senate bill adjusts the PFC. Aside from addressing National Parks and aviation, there have been a few articles this week exploring the potential of technology and innovation in improving our infrastructure. The TransitCenter and Center for Neighborhood Technology just released a new interactive tool called AllTransit, which collects data from more than 800 transit agencies into a comprehensive set of metrics and maps that break down public transportation opportunities by census block. All of this information is then collected into a performance score between one and 10, revealing the conditions of the nation’s transit agencies. An article in Fusion magazine also outlined the role of technology in addressing our infrastructure problems, exploring the idea of developing tools to keep our cities from deteriorating further. In Los Angeles, a group of public sector technologists have banded together to try and solve the city’s infrastructure problems using home-grown tools like sewer drones and traffic dashboards. Innovative ideas like these are also highlighted in ASCE’s GameChangers report, which shows how communities across the country have developed solutions to infrastructure challenges. In order to innovate and improve our infrastructure needs nationwide, it is important that local, state and federal governments work together to find long-term, sustainable funding that will allow for such improvement.

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State of Our Union Will Strengthen With Infrastructure Investment

January 13th, 2016 | By: Becky Moylan

President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. Among the goals he set out was the need to build a “21st century transportation system.” He went further, posing the question of how we can utilize technology to solve our nation’s challenges. Modernizing our transportation network and offering innovative solutions to improve our nation’s infrastructure are key to improving America’s “D+” infrastructure. Infrastructure #GameChangers identifies the top trends in technology and innovation that are advancing infrastructure. While the President did not get into the specifics, these gamechangers demonstrate that America can find innovative solutions to our nation’s infrastructure challenges. From transforming wastewater into energy today to autonomous and connected vehicles in the future, improving our nation’s infrastructure will take ingenuity and investment. Check out more of the ways that technology is solving our nation’s infrastructure challenges. In just over a year, the American Society of Civil Engineers will release the 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, providing an assessment of the state of our infrastructure. In the meantime, it’s up to our elected leaders at the federal, state, and local levels to continue prioritizing investment into the backbone of our economy.

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2015 Infrastructure Year in Review

January 4th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

App Makes Contacting Legislators a BreezeSAI app icon The Save America’s Infrastructure phone app launched in May and has been downloaded by more than 1,800+ infrastructure advocates. Providing grades and facts about 16 categories of America’s Infrastructure as well as the 50 states, the app allows users to easily contact their elected officials directly through the app. The app is available on Android and iTunes for free. State Legislative Wins Pushed by Infrastructure Report CardsIowa Rail shape logoutah RC shape In 2015, both Utah and Iowa rapidly passed transportation legislation reforms on the heels of the release of ASCE’s State Infrastructure Report Cards. In fact, ASCE has released a recent Report Card in 12 of the 15 states that have taken recent significant action on infrastructure. These states include: GA, ID, IA, KY, MD, NE, NH, NC, PA, SD, UT, VT, VA, WA, and WY. Sharing the Report Card with Business and Industry Leaders The Report Card for America’s Infrastructure continues to draw interest from business and industry groups nationwide. Almost 50 Report Card presentations have been given by ASCE leaders to groups ranging from the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce to the US/Canada P3 Forum to the Association of Actuaries. Request a presentation to your group by emailing reportcard@asce.org. GC Squares and Title LogoHighlighting #GameChangers and Solutions In July, ASCE released Infrastructure #GameChangers report to highlight the innovative ways communities across the country are modernizing infrastructure. The report highlights trends in energy, freight, transportation and water infrastructure that are changing the way we design, plan, and build projects of the future. Read the full ASCE 2015 Year in Review here.

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Infrastructure in the News: Innovation and Investment

November 13th, 2015 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

With one week left until the House and Senate must negotiate on a compromise between the two pending transportation bills, the DRIVE Act and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act (STRRA), our infrastructure’s future continues to take center stage. ASCE and a group of 39 other transportation groups and unions wrote a letter to the House and Senate surface transportation conference committee in support of a five-year highway and transit bill that will increase investment levels. They noted that, “While the reliability of future federal highway and public transportation funds is a critical benefit of a multi-year reauthorization bill, such predictability alone is not sufficient to drive needed surface transportation improvements.” When it comes to predicting the future of our nation’s infrastructure, many wonder what that will look like. Articles in Forbes, DCInno and Athens Banner-Herald emphasized the need to not only invest in infrastructure, but to think strategically about how and where investment should be made. Will the rise of smart cars (autonomous vehicles) play into how we invest in our infrastructure? While questions like this can only be hypothesized, these articles suggest the importance of considering how technological advancements will impact our infrastructure needs down the line when planning funding. Infrastructure trends featured in #GameChangers are examples of how innovation is changing the way infrastructure is designed and built and can help us better envision the future. While projections of our nation’s future infrastructnure landscape have marked this week’s headlines, these ideas cannot get too far without a stable, federal funding source. Hopefully Congress can compromise on a bill that provides increased funding to give states the certainty they need to ot just maintain but modernize our nation’s infrastructure.

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USDOT to Public: #ShowUsYourInfraWear

August 7th, 2015 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

With Congress on recess and the new short-term highway patch hourglass beginning to slowly sieve, the symptoms of our nation’s aging infrastructure are gaining more attention from the media and states. Just this week, a subway train derailed in Washington, D.C., causing extreme delays for daily commuters. In response to the ubiquity of worn out infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched an Instagram and Twitter campaign, asking Americans to submit photos of worn-out infrastructure in their local communities with the hashtag #ShowUsYourInfraWear. The goal is to highlight the most pressing infrastructure needs that inconvenience the American public and they could be fixed if there were a long-term surface transportation bill. On a legislative note, Senator Tom Carper from Delaware introduced a bill—believed to be the first-ever to use a hashtag in the bill title. This bill would incrementally increase the gas tax over the next four years, resulting in a 16-cents-per-gallon increase by 2020 that would then be tied to inflation. “At a time when gas prices are some of the lowest we’ve seen in recent memory, we should be willing to make the hard choice to raise the federal gas tax,” Carper said, in regards to the need to produce long-term funding to #FixTheTrustFund. With long-term funding, not only would infrastructure needs be met, but the opportunity to invest in infrastructure projects, as identified in #GameChangers, would arise. This past Thursday was the 101st anniversary of the traffic light, which stood as one of the original game changers of our transportation world. If we want to see more innovations continue to improve our society, we need to be willing to make the investment. It is essential that Congress work diligently in the next three months to find a long-term funding solution for surface transportation. You can write your representative a letter or call their office and share the message to #FixTheTrustFund by the Oct 29 deadline.

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The House hits snooze for long-term bill until October

July 31st, 2015 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

With July wrapping up, the House throwing in the towel and settling for another three-month extension as the Senate passing the DRIVE Act, hopes for a long-term highway funding solution are pushed back again. Before heading home for August recess the House and Senate passed another short-term patch that will provide $8 billion of funding to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat a bit long, with program authorization set to expire on October 29th. Meanwhile, the Senate approved the DRIVE Act, a six-year surface transportation bill. It is the first long-term bill in a long time, which gives the transportation community something to celebrate. However, the DRIVE Act does not fully meet the investment needs of our nation’s aging infrastructure. With a bill now passed by the upper chamber, it’s up to the House to make this most recent short-term extension the last, and there are plenty of reasons to get it done. Among them, we are losing time and money because of the poor condition of our transportation network and it’s a drag on the economy. Years of cutbacks in federal funding and the uncertainty of long-term funding because of the frequency of short-term patches are hindering states ability to make transportation improvements. States including Iowa, Ohio and others are struggling to fund much-needed construction projects because of the lack of certainty for a federal program. Several states have taken measures to provide for their own transportation funding needs, including Washington, which just increased its gas tax by seven cents, South Dakota, Oregon, North Carolina and West Virginia, but the states cannot go it alone. Federal funding for the Highway Trust Fund would not only serve to improve much-needed infrastructure investments, but would pave the way for more innovative infrastructure, as featured in ASCE’s #GameChangers report. Therefore it is essential that Congress work diligently in the next three months to find a long-term funding solution. “In the next three months, ASCE urges the House and Senate to work through their policy differences and continue the legacy of the Highway Trust Fund,” said Tom Smith, ASCE’s executive director. “This short-term extension needs to be the last and we believe it can be, so long as Congress moves the nation forward by working together in a bipartisan way to finish their work on improving America’s surface transportation infrastructure.” You can write your representative a letter or call their office and share the message to #FixTheTrustFund by the Oct 29 deadline. And say thank you to the 65 Senators who voted yes.

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