Editor’s Note: This story follows our story last week, “ASCE Research Sounds an Ominous Warning About Infrastructure Underinvestment,” which provided an update on the association’s research initiative, “Failure to Act,” which is the basis for ASCE’s announcement today.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) today announced its latest “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” as part of a day-long series of web-based presentations. Making the formal announcement was 2021 ASCE President, Jean-Louis Briaud, PhD, PE, D. GE, and Dist. M. of ASCE.

In a letter to Report Card recipients, Dr. Briard explained that for more than 20 years, ASCE has been releasing its quadrennial Report Card, which has increasingly gained positive attention as public opinion surveys regularly show that Americans recognize the need to repair our nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure.

“Failing to act to rebuild America’s infrastructure costs every American family $3,300 a year, with significant costs and consequences to the national economy,” he said.

The Report Card not only defines the problems facing our nation’s infrastructure; it also offers solutions across all 17 categories.

Of special interest to ACPA members will be the sections on “Roads” and “Aviation,” which were scored at a D and D+ respectively on the current report card.

Roads—ASCE’s grade D for roads is based on the point that they are frequently underfunded, and more than 40% of the system is now in poor or mediocre condition. As the backlog of rehabilitation needs grows, motorists are forced to pay over $1,000 every year in wasted time and fuel.

“Additionally, while traffic fatalities have been on the decline, over 36,000 people are still dying on the nation’s roads every year, and the number of pedestrian fatalities is on the rise,” the report card states. “Federal, state, and local governments will need to prioritize strategic investments dedicated to improving and preserving roadway conditions that increase public safety on the system we have in place, as well as plan for the roadways of the future, which will need to account for connected and autonomous vehicles.”

Airports—The report card’s D+ grade for airports is based on several factors. “Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s airports were facing growing capacity challenges,” according to the report. “Over a two-year period, passenger travel steadily increased from 964.7 million to 1.2 billion per year, yet flight service only increased from 9.7 to 10.2 million flights per year — contributing in part to a total of nearly 96 million delay minutes for airline passengers in 2019. Terminal, gate, and ramp availability was not meeting the needs of a growing passenger base.”

“Under pre-COVID-19 projections, our aviation system was set to have a 10-year, $111 billion funding shortfall, and that gap has likely grown significantly as passenger volumes dropped in March 2020 and have yet to recover. However, funding from Congress has risen from $11 billion annually to approximately $15 billion from 2017 to 2020. These additional investments are driving some early results as measured by improved economic performance,” ASCE said.