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The Nation’s Infrastructure Report Card Improves Slightly

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our airports, roads, bridges and drinking water a C- in its latest report card, calling it a modest improvement. But the bill on progress is a long way from being paid off.

aerial view of cars on highway
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently released their 2021 Report Card, giving a C- to America’s infrastructure. For the first time in 20 years, the ASCE has found the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes and transmission lines to be out of the D range. The ranking shows that, while there has been progress in restoring the nation’s infrastructure, there is still more work to be done.

Every four years, 17 infrastructure categories are individually scored to provide a nationwide review of the conditions and needs while providing recommendations on how to improve them. The ASCE’s Committee on America’s Infrastructure also provides state reports on a rolling basis, based upon the same evaluation criteria: the capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation of the infrastructure.

The Committee uses the evaluation criteria to assign a grade, A to F, for the different categories of the nation’s, or state’s, infrastructure: aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, stormwater, transit and wastewater. This year, the nation’s rail and ports received the best marks of B and B-, respectively; 10 of the categories received below average grades with transit scoring the lowest at D-.

The report reiterates the importance of investing more heavily in the nation’s infrastructure. The investment gap has increased to $2.59 trillion over 10 years. Without a serious effort to close the gap, by 2039, the continued underinvestment in the nation’s infrastructure will cost the average American household $3,300 annually.

The ASCE Report Card also provides recommendations on how to raise the infrastructure grade. First, there must be a clear vision for the nation’s infrastructure, executed with strong leadership and decisive action. Then, the U.S. must increase investments from all levels of government and the private sector by 1 percent of the GDP by 2025. Finally, there must be advancements in structural resilience to ensure that infrastructure can withstand natural or man-made events.

Use the map below to see more information on your state’s infrastructure score.

Zoe is the web producer and a writer for Governing.
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