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Engineers Give U.S. Infrastructure 'D+' Grade


In its latest report, the American Society of Civil Engineers announced that the U.S. gets a D+ grade for its infrastructure and that it would cost more than $4 trillion just to move up to a B- grade.

The report came out just one day after President Donald Trump met with executives to discuss his plan to invest invest $1 trillion in the country's highways, bridges, airports and dams, according to CNBC.

But the ASCE says $1 trillion is not enough to bring the nation's critical infrastructure up to par.

It would take at least $1 trillion "to maintain and expand service to meet demands over the next 25 years," the ASCE stated in its report, using statistics from the American Water Works Association.

"While drinking water infrastructure is funded primarily through a rate-based system, the investment has been inadequate for decades and will continue to be underfunded without significant changes as the revenue generated will fall short as needs grow," the report stated.

"To see real progress, we need to make long-term infrastructure investment a priority," said Greg DiLoreto, chair of the ASCE's Committee on America's Infrastructure, according to Reuters.

To immediately improve the nation's infrastructure, the ASCE proposes closing the $2 trillion, 10-year investment gap by increasing government and private investment from between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by 2025.

That increase would be a dramatic spike from current levels.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, federal infrastructure investment has fallen by half over the last 35 years, from 1 percent to 0.5 percent of the GDP.

And infrastructure investment has dropped across the board, whether from federal, state or private institutions.

While federal spending has fallen 50 percent, state and local investment is at a 30-year low.

The private sector has failed to step up, despite lower tax rates in recent years -- in all but five states and the District of Columbia, private investment decreased between 2002 and 2013.

In addition to increased investment, the ASCE said there needs to be improvements in leadership and planning.

"Smart investment will only be possible with leadership, planning, and a clear vision for our nation’s infrastructure," the report states. "Leaders from all levels of government, business, labor, and nonprofit organizations must come together to ensure all investments are spent wisely, prioritizing projects with critical benefits to the economy, public safety, and quality of life, while also planning for the costs of building, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure for its entire lifespan."

Sources: Infrastructure Report Card via ASCE, Reuters, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Photo Credit: Patsy Lynch/Wikimedia Commons

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