January 15, 2016 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

The new year is off to a roaring start, with Washington, D.C. releasing its first infrastructure report card, ASCE issuing its Moore, Oklahoma tornado report and many states addressing their infrastructure plans for 2016.

ASCE’s National Capital Section released the 2016 Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure January 14, giving the nation’s capital a grade of C- overall, with transportation receiving the lowest individual grade. According to The Washington Post, D.C.’s roads are considered some of the most congested in the nation. An article in The Guardian explored how gridlock in D.C. and other U.S. cities not only prolongs daily commutes but also raises concern for safety in the event of an emergency evacuation. It is safe to say that gridlock can be agreed upon by ASCE, lawmakers and the American public, as a paramount issue worth addressing.

With the new year, many states are taking a fresh look at ways to revitalize their infrastructure. New York, Connecticut, Indiana, California are all contemplating funding methods such as tolling, gas tax increases and annual vehicle fees to fund infrastructure.

ASCE also released its Moore Oklahoma tornado report this week, which addressed the findings of a team of ASCE engineers who deployed to Moore to assess buildings destroyed in the May 2013 tornado. While the report focuses on the importance of codes and standards in building construction design, it provides important reminders on the need to invest in infrastructure to make buildings more safe and resilient against natural disasters.

Whether it be improving our transportation network or improving structural resiliency, our infrastructure requires constant upkeep. In just over a year, the American Society of Civil Engineers will release its 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, providing an in-depth assessment of the state of our nation’s 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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