US infrastructure gets C- as roads stagnate

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) — America’s infrastructure has scored near-failing grades for its deteriorating roads, public transit and storm water systems due to years of inaction from the Federal Government, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports. Its overall grade: a mediocre C-.

In its ‘Infrastructure Report Card’ released on Wednesday, the group called for “big and bold” relief, estimating it would cost USD5.9 trillion over the next decade to bring roads, bridges and airports to a safe and sustainable level. That’s about USD2.6 trillion more than what government and the private sector already spend.

“America’s infrastructure is not functioning as it should, and families are losing thousands of dollars a year in disposable income as a result of cities having to fix potholes, people getting stuck in traffic or due to repairs when a water line breaks or the energy grid goes down,” said one of the group’s past presidents Greg DiLoreto.

“It’s critical we take action now,” he said, expressing optimism that the Federal Government is now making it a “top priority”.

During former United States (US) president Donald Trump’s four years in the White House, his administration often held ‘Infrastructure Week’ events and touted transportation improvements. But it was not able to push Congress to pass any broad plan to update the nation’s roads and bridges, rails and airports.

The overall C- grade on America’s infrastructure — reflecting a ‘mediocre’ condition with ‘significant deficiencies’ — is a slight improvement from its D+ grade in 2017. The group cited in part state and local government and private-sector efforts, which have turned to new technology to pinpoint water main leaks and prioritise fixes.

A pickup traverses the Franklin Street bridge in Michigan City, Indiana. PHOTO: AP