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Failing Infrastructure Cannot Support a Healthy Economy

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Decades of underfunding and inattention have jeopardized the ability of our nation's infrastructure to support our economy and facilitate our way of life. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) today released its 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure - assigning a cumulative grade of D to the nation's infrastructure and noting a five-year investment need of $2.2 trillion from all levels of government and the private sector. Since ASCE's last assessment in 2005 there has been little change in the condition of the nation's roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other public works, and the cost of improvement has increased by more than half a trillion dollars.

"Crumbling infrastructure has a direct impact on our personal and economic health, and the nation's infrastructure crisis is endangering our future prosperity," said ASCE president D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., F.ASCE. "Our leaders are looking for solutions to the nation's current economic crisis. Not only could investment in these critical foundations have a positive impact, but if done responsibly, it would also provide tangible benefits to the American people, such as reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality, clean and abundant water supplies and protection against natural hazards."

As the nation's infrastructure receives focused attention from the White House, Congress and the public, ASCE's 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure provides an assessment of the condition and need for investment of 15 infrastructure categories, including, for the first time, levees. While there has been some improvement since 2005, overall conditions in most categories have remained the same, or slipped even lower. Security, a category that was added to the Report Card in 2005, and which received an incomplete grade, has been removed from the list of assessed categories and added into the methodology used to assess each individual category. Grades included:

  --  Aviation = D (down from a D+)
  --  Bridges = C (no change)
  --  Dams = D (no change)
  --  Drinking Water = D- (no change)
  --  Energy = D+ (up from a D)
  --  Hazardous Waste = D (no change)
  --  Inland Waterways = D (no change, previous listed a Navigable Waterways)
  --  Levees = D- (new category)
  --  Public Parks and Recreation = C- (no change)
  --  Rail = C- (no change)
  --  Roads = D- (down from D)
  --  Schools = D (no change)
  --  Solid Waste = C+ (no change)
  --  Transit = D (down from D+)
  --  Wastewater = D- (no change)

The Report Card also offers five key solutions for raising the nation's infrastructure GPA. These include:

  --  Increasing federal leadership in infrastructure,
  --  Promoting sustainability and resilience,
  --  Developing federal, state and regional infrastructure plans,
  --  Addressing life-cycle costs and ongoing maintenance and
  --  Increasing and improving infrastructure investment from all
      stakeholders.

Each category was evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety and resilience. A detailed report, which accompanies the grades released today, will be released on March 25, 2009. For more information, including solutions for solving America's infrastructure problems and ASCE's Principles for Economic Stimulus Investment, visit www.asce.org/reportcard.

Founded in 1852, ASCE represented more than 146,000 civil engineers worldwide, and is America's oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit www.asce.org.

Source: American Society of Civil Engineers

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