Deficient: Bridges that require significant maintenance,
rehabilitation, or replacement. These bridges must be inspected at least
every 2 years since critical load-carrying elements were found to be in
poor condition due to deterioration or damage.
Obsolete: Bridges that no longer meet the current standards that are
used today. Examples are narrow lanes or low load-carrying capacity.
you can see from their definitions, this does not mean that these types
of bridges are unsafe. Bridges are inspected on a regular basis, and if
a bridge has safety concerns, action is then taken to assure public
safety. Such actions can include weight restricting the bridge, closing
lanes, changing traffic patterns, or closing the bridge entirely.
U.S. infrastructure to other nations is difficult in that no two
countries share the same history, and thus, the same challenges. The
real, first-generation of America’s infrastructure was built after WWII.
These investments of the 20th century spurred our nation’s economic
boom and made us a global power. Today, quite simply, that tab is coming
due. When comparing us to other nations, many have been around far
longer and have far different political/economic climates for possible
According to the World Economic Forum, the U.S. ranks 14th in its infrastructure index, which is a measure of quality. According to Building America’s Future,
“Even as the global recession has forced cutbacks in government
spending, other countries are investing significantly more than the U.S.
to expand and update their transportation networks.”
lesson we can learn from other nations—and even from our recent past—is
that we must have a strategic, long-term vision. Our infrastructure
problem is too large for one solution or one piece of legislation to
fix. We need a long-term plan to modernize our infrastructure if we are
going to raise our infrastructure grades.
partnerships (PPPs) can be an effective method of project financing and
delivery. PPPs do not replace the need for public funding of
infrastructure projects. ASCE supports the use of PPPs only when the public interest is protected.
engineers plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain the nation’s
infrastructure. Strained state and local government budgets combined
with increasing demand have led to the implementation of PPPs in several
states and localities. The injection of private capital into public
works, however, has drawn some criticism or skepticism from stakeholder
groups and raised the need for a set of guiding principles for these
projects as they are planned, implemented, and maintained.
The Report Card for America’s Infrastructure is released every four years. It is released shortly after each new term of the President of the United States, offering an assessment of the state of the nation’s infrastructure. A quadrennial release also allows an appropriate amount of time between national Report Cards for notable changes to be made in each sector of infrastructure that is evaluated.
All of ASCE’s state and local Infrastructure Report Cards are done by our volunteer ASCE members as a public service to their communities. As such, the production of the report cards is not on any set schedule since it requires an extensive time commitment from local civil engineers. We are currently trying to complete a report card for every state.
While not every state report card is from this year, they are representative of the overall infrastructure picture in many states. Infrastructure does not change rapidly but over time, and thus, an infrastructure assessment such as our report cards can remain relevant for years after its release.