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How Long until our Public Infrastructure Fails?

The ASCE gives American infrastructure a "D" average

I personally haven’t received a report card in more years than I care to divulge, so when I saw that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) had released the 2013 Report Card For America’s Infrastructure, I viewed it with a sense of dread.   Self-doubt from years of schooling somehow influenced my thoughts on America’s report card.

“How will it fare?  It tried really hard in the last quarter to turn things around; all the cramming and whatnot. I hope we can continue to pay its car insurance… I dread the thought of having to chauffer it around again.”

Turns out we may need to renew our livery license:

Roads: D+
Bridges: C+
Drinking Water: D
Public Parks & Recreation: C-
Roads: D
Wastewater: D

It doesn’t look that hot.  And I sure hope America’s C+ wasn’t the result of sitting next to Switzerland; ranked #1 for overall infrastructure in the world.

If we look at the assessment by the ASCE, we have to recognize that they aren’t exactly unbiased in their evaluation.  On the other hand, I personally haven’t heard from any of the organizations I’ve interacted with over the past year that they are flush with money for public works projects, or that everything is in such great shape in their communities that the public works staff volunteers their time on Mondays and Fridays at local humane shelters.  The cry of “we need to do more with less” is more commonly the case.

It will be interesting to see if America’s report card resonates at this year’s National Association of County Engineers (NACE)  Annual Conference.  I’d love to see City and County Engineers walking around with copies of America’s Report Card, asking each other “Have you seen this?  What are we going to do about America’s grades?!?”

What are your thoughts? Do you agree? How are things looking in the communities you represent or live in?

If you will be at NACE conference this year, stop by and let us know! We’ll be there too, and would love to hear your answers to these questions, and as always are ready to provide the tools and expertise to assist you address the asset management issues your communities face.