NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Infrastructure In Poor Condition, Say Engineers

March 8, 2001

Roads, schools and airports across the United States are in poor condition and likely to deteriorate further without a major infusion of cash, according to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The ASCE rated 12 areas of the nation's infrastructure -- including bridges, schools and roads -- as below average.

The poor grades are linked to three trends: changing population patterns, local political opposition to spending more money and aging structures.

  • The report says that $1.3 trillion must be spent over the next five years to bring current systems to a safe level.
  • About 75 percent of the nation's school buildings don't meet the needs of the growing number of students, said the report.
  • And since 1990, growth in energy capacity has fallen 30 percent short of the growth in need.
  • Just to maintain the current public transit system will require a 41 percent increase in spending, and nearly $11 billion a year for the next 20 years would be needed to fix bridges.

Furthermore, depsite two major federal transportation funding bills in the past few years, increases in traffic on highways and the aviation system will require more funding, the group says.

Source: Jessie Halladay, "Report: U.S. roads, schools, bridges are in dire shape," USA Today, March 8, 2001; "2001 Report Card on America's Infrastructure," American Society of Civil Engineers, March 8, 2001.


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