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      San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Receive a “C” in 2020 Infrastructure Report Card

      February 18, 2020

      Report evaluates the Inland Empire's flood control, local streets, drinking and wastewater infrastructure and more, in addition to providing tangible recommendations to help the region prepare for the future 

      RIVERSIDE, Cal.  - The 2020 Report Card for San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Inland Empire's Infrastructure was released today by the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), giving eight categories of infrastructure an overall grade of a 'C' Civil engineers evaluated the following individual categories: aviation (C), drinking water (C), parks, open space and recreation (C), urban runoff (B), local streets (C-), solid waste (B-), flood control (C) and wastewater (C+).  

      In general, the regional transportation network has received some attention and improved levels of service, thanks to major investments over the past 10 years. However, sustainable funding is crucial to maintain these upgraded assets and to shift attention to what the region says are deteriorating local streets. 

      Most of the region's infrastructure is in mediocre condition, demonstrating investments are being made, but in order to keep up with operation and maintenance costs, more funding is needed. In the Inland Empire region, there are three major international airports: Ontario (ONT), San Bernardino (SBD) and Palm Springs International (PSP) Airports, five mid-size airports and numerous smaller aviation airports, indicating the importance of robust aviation infrastructure, which is evident in the investments made. ONT received $11.8 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2018 to repair taxiways develop an Airport Pavement Management Program and other improvements; PSP is currently in the middle of a $122 million, 20-year expansion plan, which includes funding for airport rents and landing service fees and more; and SBD, which serves as a major West Coast freight hub and is also in the middle of a $100 million investment in the facility. While airport pavement and navigational aids are in good to fair condition, some of the maintenance is falling behind, causing facilities to appear in a weathered state - with ages between 15 and 30 years. Additional funding is needed to support this operation and maintenance. 

      Agencies in the region are focused on funding projects to improve access to reliable sources of water, such as the Western Municipal Water District in Riverside, which invested $36 million into the la Sierra Regional Conveyance System project to provide access to more local supply. Additionally, drinking water infrastructure owners and operators are investing in regular operation and maintenance in order to provide consistent service to residents. Overall, existing pipeline capacity in the Inland Empire is adequate for the next 15 years and the region's water infrastructure is considered adequate, but aging infrastructure must be replaced. 

      Solid waste and (B-) and urban runoff infrastructure (B) both sit in the 'B' range, indicating the infrastructure is in a state of good repair and is adequate for now. Both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties have sufficient landfill capacity for the next 20 years and have planned for the needs of the next 100 years. In 2017, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties generated about 3.22 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). The average resident disposed 4.12 pounds per day of MSW, which is less than the 2017 national average of 3.30 pounds per day. Within the region's urban runoff infrastructure, jurisdictions in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties employ hundreds of staff and spend millions of dollars annually to implement Urban Runoff Management Programs in the Inland Empire, which exist to address stormwater quality concerns and enhance water quality in the region. These programs are now shifting towards requiring new capital infrastructure investments to address waterbody-specific pollutants as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with new state-mandated water quality regulations to control trash in urban runoff.

      Local streets' infrastructure received the lowest grade of a 'C-,' indicating that due to the growing population at a rapid rate in the region, there has been increased vehicular traffic which has a significant impact on the condition and capacity of the existing roadway system. Civil engineers recommend a holistic strategy that considers all road users and all modes of transportation, which should incorporate roadways, commuter railways, and transit systems, sidewalks and bikeways. According to the Pavement Condition Index (PCI), 78% of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Inland Empire were classified as being in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $795 each year in extra vehicle operating costs.

      "It is only fitting to kick off this report card during the annual Engineers Week. I'm proud of the work that has gone into evaluating the region's airports, local streets, drinking water systems and more that are crucial to so many residents' daily lives," said George Johnson, P.E., M.ASCE, Riverside County CEO. "While transportation investments have been made in the last 10 years, the recommendations provided in this report are crucial to ensure the Inland Empire has a well-maintained infrastructure network to support our growing population and varied industries." 

      Recommendations to raise the grades include the following:

      • Protect water resources in the Inland Empire by supporting Statewide water bonds that include Integrated Regional Water Management grant programs that authorize funding for water infrastructure, groundwater supply and storage, dam repairs, habitat protections and restoration and improve water quality in our streams and lakes.
      • Resurface local streets and roads by supporting legislation similar to Senate Bill 1- Road Repair and Accountability Act, and local measures that provide direct funding to Inland Empire cities and local governments for the maintenance of local streets and roads - and also enhances pedestrian and bike safety in the region's communities.
      • Increase drinking water and wastewater treatment system capacities by supporting funding initiatives and capital improvement projects that will allow water agencies to keep up with system demands over the next couple decades and ensure that water and wastewater networks will continue to be properly maintained.
      • Grow public awareness of solid waste resources by supporting programs that better inform residents about how to separate organic materials for composting and recyclable materials for processing, and how to turn solid waste into resources and reduce the amount of materials buried at landfills.
      • Provide consistent and reliable funding for trail construction by preparing a comprehensive plan in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to provide detailed trail inventories and implementation strategies for trail design and construction. 

      The Report Card for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties Inland Empire Infrastructure was created as a public service to citizens and policymakers to inform them of the infrastructure needs in their state. Civil engineers used their expertise and school report card letter grades to condense complicated data into an easy-to-understand analysis of the Inland Empire's infrastructure network. ASCE State and Regional Infrastructure Report Cards are modeled after the nationalInfrastructure Report Card , which gave America's infrastructure a grade of 'D+' in 2017.  

      A full copy of the this report is available at



      Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information,   or and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.