Virginia’s and the Nation’s Infrastructure Gets Graded by the American Society of Civil Engineers – 2017 Edition

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a “report card” on the state of engineered infrastructure in the United States.  The report covers infrastructure in aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, school facilities, solid waste, transit, and wastewater.  The latest national report (as of March 13, 2017) gave a grade of D+, the same as the grade in 2013.  The report estimated the cost of making necessary infrastructure improvements at $4.59 trillion, compared to the 2013 estimate of $3.6 trillion.  The full national report for 2017 is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.  A chart of results from previous reports–back to 1998–is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/making-the-grade/report-card-history/.

According to the “What Makes a Grade” section  of the Report Card Web site, grades were assigned based on capacity to meet current and future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.  The grades are described as follows: A = exceptional; B = good; C = mediocre; D = poor; F = failing.

The 2017 national report also includes reports for each state.  As of 3/13/17, the Virginia assessment was a 2015 report compiled by the Virginia Section of the ASCE (ASCE-Va.).  The Virginia report is available at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/state-item/virginia/.  The Virginia report give the Commonwealth an overall grade of C- (compared to a D+ in 2009), and the following category grades: bridges = C; dams = C; drinking water = C; parks = C+; rail and transit = C-; roads = D; school facilities = C-; solid waste = B-; stormwater = C-; and wastewater = D+.

News item related to Virginia report in 2015: Virginia infrastructure earns grade of C-, Capital News Service, 1/21/15.

Other sources of information on infrastructure needs in Virginia and elsewhere:

National Bridge Inventory Database, online at http://nationalbridges.com/.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “CorpsMap—National Inventory of Dams, online at http://nid.usace.army.mil/cm_apex/f?p=838:12.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Clean Watesheds Needs Survey 2012 Report to Congress,” available online at https://www.epa.gov/cwns.  According to this Web site, this report is an “assessment of capital investment needed nationwide for publicly-owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities to meet the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (Fifth Report to Congress,” EPA 816-R-013-006, April 2013), available online at https://www.epa.gov/tribaldrinkingwater/drinking-water-infrastructure-needs-survey-and-assessment-fifth-report-congress.

Virginia Department of Transportation, “VTrans 2025: Virginia’s Statewide Multimodal Long-range Transportation Plan” (November 17, 2004): available online (as PDF) at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/vtrans/resources/revisedPhase3Reportforctb.pdf.

Virginia General Assembly joint subcommittee reports on school construction:
1) “Report on the Level of Assistance to Localities Necessary for Developing Adequate K-12 Schools Infrastructure,” House Document 5 for 2005 (published February 2005): available online at http://leg2.state.va.us/DLS/h&sdocs.nsf/a762cd2685f84d7a85256f030053196e/8e7c1e3d13b4f07185256ec500553c48?OpenDocument.

2) “K-12 School Infrastructure,” House Document 2 for2006 (published November 2005); available online at http://leg2.state.va.us/DLS/h&sdocs.nsf/a762cd2685f84d7a85256f030053196e/fec93d6935f5541285257082005f7768?OpenDocument.

Infrastructure cartoon

Cartoon that accompanied a February 2010 Virginia Water Central newsletter article on the 2009 infrastructure report by the American Society of Civil Engineers-Virginia Section.  Illustration by George Wills, Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt).

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