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US infrastructure gets C- from engineers as roads, public transit deteriorate

Pete Buttigieg
Posted at 4:18 PM, Mar 03, 2021

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, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

In its “Infrastructure Report Card” released Wednesday, the group gave the nation an overall C- grade and called for “big and bold” relief to fix things.

The ASCE study evaluated 17 categories of infrastructure, with grades ranging from a B for rail to a D- for Transit.

“For the first time in 20 years, the country's infrastructure as a whole received a grade in the C range, meaning on average, the nation's infrastructure is in mediocre condition, has deficiencies and needs attention,” wrote ASCE in a press release.

However, 11 of the 17 categories in the “Report Card” received a grade in the D range: aviation, dams, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, public parks, roads, schools, stormwater, transit, and wastewater.

Over the past four years, the U.S. made incremental gains in some categories, according to the "Report Card." Due to increased investment, grades improved in aviation, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, and ports.

The ASCE estimates it would cost $5.9 trillion over the next decade to bring roads, bridges and airports to a safe and sustainable level. That’s about $2.6 trillion more than what government and the private sector already spend.

If the U.S. does not pay its overdue infrastructure bill, ASCE says by 2039, the U.S. economy will lose $10 trillion in growth and exports will decline by $2.4 trillion. Additionally, the group says more than 3 million jobs will be lost in 2039 and each American household will bear $3,300 in hidden costs per year.

President Joe Biden has said the nation's infrastructure is a priority of his and he campaigned on rebuilding it in a sustainable way that would create jobs. It could also present an opportunity for Democrats to work with Republicans, since both parties have complained about lack of progress on the issue. Much of that work will fall on Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who was nominated by Biden to lead the Department of Transportation.