This year is the first time in two decades that the U.S. has received above the D range.
By Alexa Lardieri
March 3, 2021
America’s airports, roads and other systems received a grade of C-minus, a slight improvement from 2017’s D-plus, but still a reflection of the dire condition of the country’s infrastructure.
The American Society of Civil Engineers released its analysis of U.S. infrastructure on Wednesday, revealing that for the first time in 20 years, America’s infrastructure is out of the D range.
The organization analyzes 17 individual categories ranging from bridges, roadways, public transit, parks and ports, and releases a grade every four years. Grades this year range from a B, good, in rail to a D-minus, poor, in transit. The C grade range represents a “mediocre” rating. Grades in five categories, aviation, drinking water, energy, inland waterways and ports, improved. Just one category, bridges, declined.
In its first grade of the category, stormwater infrastructure received a “disappointing” D, putting it among 11 categories that landed in that grade range, “a clear signal that our overdue bill on infrastructure is a long way from being paid off.”
Transit scored the lowest among the categories, with an unchanged grade of D-minus. The report states that transit riders face increased delays and service interruptions while transit agencies grapple with growing maintenance and vehicle procurement costs. Additionally, nearly half of Americans, 45%, have no access to public transit.
The ASCE gave rail the highest grade of B, noting that disparities exist between freight rail and passenger rail. Freight rail maintains a strong network, while passenger rail has lacked the necessary federal support, leading to a repair backlog of $45.2 billion.
The report is a clear sign that the nation’s waterways and roads are in need of a major federal investment to keep them from deteriorating further. The ASCE estimates that the total investment gap has swelled to $2.59 trillion over 10 years and nearly $6 trillion is needed to repair America’s broken infrastructure.
The organization recommends “strong leadership, decisive action and a clear vision,” to improve America’s grade, along with “smart investments.”
President Joe Biden and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have prioritized passing an infrastructure bill this year, but after they secure passage of a pending $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.