US roads, bridges and other utilities get a D+ grade

And that's good news. It's an improvement over previous report cards issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

By Bruce Kennedy Mar 22, 2013 12:07PM

Los Angeles, Calif., traffic on Interstate 405 © VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesAny parent knows that a D+ grade is rarely something to cheer about. But when the D+ is awarded to the overall state of America's national infrastructure, that's apparently good news.

The American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure showed slight progress over the D grade it gave the nation's bridges, roads, public utilities, water supplies and other essential systems during the last report in 2009.

This marks the first time the society, which began issuing its reports in 1998, has noted an improvement in national infrastructure. Until now, the grades have been near-failing and averaging a D -- due to what the Society calls "delayed maintenance and underinvestment."

The report looks across a wide spectrum of infrastructure issues. For 2013, it ranged from a high of B- for solid waste, to a low of D- for inland waterways and levees. Along with solid waste, drinking water, waste water, roads and bridges all saw slight improvements. And, just as important, no categories declined in grade compared to the last report.

In its executive summary, the report card says the improvements show what can be accomplished by sound investment in infrastructure. For example, it notes, greater private investment improved the connectivity and efficiency of rail transportation -- while new efforts on the city and state level addressed urgent work needed for some vulnerable bridges. Several areas of infrastructure also benefited from short-term increases in federal funding.

Gregory DiLoreto, the society's president, says Americans need to be proactive in taking care of national infrastructure – not only as a legacy, but to help keep the economy on a sound footing.“The reason why we want to make improvements to our infrastructure is not just simply to improve the grade,” he said on the society's website.

“Investment in our infrastructure will help grow our economy; it will create jobs and improve our quality of life,” he added. “It means being able to get to work easier without sitting in traffic all day long; and continuing to enjoy safe, clean and reliable drinking water anywhere in the country; and having an electrical transmission grid with fewer or no blackouts.”

The report card concludes that, if we are to raise our national infrastructure grades to acceptable levels across all 16 sectors touched on in the report, $3.6 trillion in total investment is needed by 2020. At the moment, total infrastructure spending in the U.S. is projected at around $2 trillion.

More on moneyNOW

Mar 23, 2013 7:30AM

How many improvements could we have made on our own infrastructure with the money given to countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, now Syria, and other countries???


While our bridges and roads rot, we spend money on bridges and new roads in foreign countries that hate us.  We pay to rebuild roads that they blow up.  We try to buy influence abroad when we should be buying what the American Citizen wants, Good infrastructure here in the U.S.


Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to stop funding foreign aid and use our money here in the U.S. 

Mar 23, 2013 4:42AM
Well so much for the gasoline tax being used for the "maintenance and improvements" of our nations highways.

Where the hell did they spend that money at?????
Mar 22, 2013 1:07PM
While our roads are falling apart along with everything else,  corporate America is padding it's pockets with fat bonuses/raises while everyone else has to get along with what they made a Decade ago.
Mar 23, 2013 7:06AM

It appears our political leaders see fit to send billions of our tax dollars that we earned with our sweat, to other countries for the creation and repair of their infrastructure instead of ours.

"Hey political leaders"!!  "Remember us? your country?" "We're over here!!!" 

"Oh well, they turned a deaf ear" :(  

Anyway, it looks like other countries have their tin cups out needing more of our tax dollars, so I had better get back to work.

Mar 23, 2013 7:52AM
It went from D to D + because they don't count the bridges that have fallen down since the last report.
Mar 23, 2013 6:18AM
it's sad when the roads in mexico are better than the roads in the US
Mar 23, 2013 8:45AM
The American people need to let Washington know how they feel about the failure of our leaders to properly spend our nations wealth. Does it make sense to be over 16 trillion dollars in debt with our infrastructure crumbling, our education system in disarray and the government can't even pass a budget. Demand a financial plan that works for the American people not the politically connected!
Mar 23, 2013 6:56AM
anyone remember "COOL HAND LUKE" well why not build the roads and bridges with the labor force that we give three hots and a cot to imstead of just waisting all the money on those that are locked up and sitting on their butts everyday watching TV ,We are paying them put them to work and have them earn their keep!
Mar 23, 2013 4:45AM
 Did they check he roads in Washington State?
    37.5 cents of every gallon we purchase
          a D is NOT ACCEPTABLE
Mar 23, 2013 10:05AM
Do some research in "Trucking Federal Use Tax". The fee charged to ALL commercial vehicles on the  hiways. This TAX was intended to be used for the maint/tepair of the interstate system. When you find the astronomical figure that goes to the fed Gov. ask what happens to this money. Then find out how much is paid to the states in fuel tax, road use tax, license fees and add this in and ask state reps what happens to these funds.
Mar 23, 2013 9:54AM
Our cities, roads, schools,  public buildings and infrastucture are falling apart all around us but our govenment still spends and wastes billions in foreign aid and maintains a military presence in countries where there is no need of it especially in oil rich countries that offer no compensation or form of repayment for keeping them safe. In the mean time China is growing its economy educating its population stealing and pirating technology from us and does absoloutely nothing for the rest of the world. Oh, but wait a minute, China does continue to lend our incompetent goverment leaders trillions of dollars to perpetuate the waste that we, the taxpayers, are somehow supposed to repay at some point in the not so distant future. We are being swinndled, lied to and impoverished by a federal government that does nothing but focus on the next election and their respective party issues in order futher their own personal agendas and political ambitions. For all practical purposes this appears to be nothing less than using the American people as an easily accesible cash cow to support its self! When has Congress ever opted to take a pay reduction rather than vote themseves a pay increase and at the same time adjourn early for an extended recess? And what has Barack Obama ever done for this country except show up for every news interview possible with that stupid grin and shove Obama care down our throats?
Mar 23, 2013 7:06AM

Well, what would you expect?  The Government (Either State or Federal) manages highway construction and repair.  Why would this be any different than anything else they do. 


The metropolitan highway system in this state is 20 or 30 years outdated.  There's huge traffic problems everywhere even when the weather isn't a factor, and if it snows or rains you may as well stay home till 10:00, because all you are going to do is sit in traffic for two hours wasting your overpriced gasoline and getting frustrated with all the idiots on the road. 

Mar 23, 2013 8:44AM
This is why here in Colorado our DOT has been devouring as much federal grants through Obamas Reinvestment Act and building new roads and bridges like mad men before the funds run out. When all is said and done Colorado will have the most state of the art long term freeway system in the country. When all the other states that have neglected updating their infrastructure and chose to spend their federal dollars on small scale improvements for the same amount of federal money, putting temporary band aids on structures ready to collapse Colorado has chosen to remove and rebuild. Thanks Uncle Sam!
Mar 22, 2013 12:33PM
Did they check the roads along Highway 101 in Oregon?
Mar 23, 2013 7:49AM

Glad I have a 4X4 to travel the highway...


Mar 23, 2013 11:27AM
Instead of the American people uniting and demanding reform in our government, we focus our time and energy on which political party we want to continue neglecting and screwing up the nation. Yet we wonder why our country is on this rapid decline. Only a fool would put a political party before the health of his nation.
Mar 23, 2013 9:17AM
I am living in China as an Engish teacher in Chongqing , 34 million people ! I just got back from Florida for a visit . Iguess all these comments here are well meaning. I understand. But make sure none of you come to China ! Think 1935 ! You just would not believe it !
Mar 23, 2013 9:56AM
Put the money into tangible improvements or studies, consultants, engineers or other desk jockies as usual. Nobody wants to break a sweat anyway!
Mar 23, 2013 9:11AM
They say the cars get better mpg. I see a lot more cars and trucks on the road. More people using a truck or SUVs for transportation then cars. I think all the suvs and trucks on the road would out weigh the difference the cars save on fuel. I have heard that at least some of the fuel tax goes into the general fund. Construction is done a lot by outside contractors.
Mar 23, 2013 9:00AM
What happened to all the trillions in stimulus Obama spent.  Oh right, it went to keep public employees  from getting fired and laid off like the rest of us.  I lost my job and my pension when the decision was made on how to spend the stimulus money was made in favor of paying union public employees instead of private non union companies to build things.
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