America’s infrastructure can be described in one word: decaying.
All across the country, we see a breakdown in old, dilapidated roads, bridges, levees, airport runways, and more, and it costs us billions every year.
How Bad Is It?
To put things in perspective, on an A to F grading scale, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S.’ infrastructure condition a whopping D+ and described investment in it’s improvement as “woefully inadequate.”
Here’s a breakdown of ASCE’s rating:
Inland Waterways: D
Drinking Water: D+
Hazardous Waste Management: D+
I must admit, I am particularly concerned about our D+ drinking water ranking, and the rest of our infrastructure doesn’t provide much solace either.
According to the 2018 analysis by Bluefield Research, the U.S. needs $68 billion annually upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure over the next decade. More than 90,000 dams across the U.S. are half a century old, and about 15,000 of them are considered “high hazard.”
What It’s Costing Us
To say the U.S.’ poor infrastructure quality hinders our economy would be an understatement.
According to engineer and historian Henry Petroski, “The delays caused by traffic congestion alone cost the economy over $120 billion per year.” Poor conditions of airports cost over $35 billion per year.
The trucking industry loses $60 billion annually because of lousy infrastructure. Dilapidated locks and dams cost $640 million a year in delays and closures, and decreased shipping volumes makes us significantly less competitive in the global market.
Considering these astronomical costs, I’d say it’s time for an upgrade.
Which States Are Making Improvements
To get a better understanding of which states’ infrastructure (particularly roads and bridges) are in the worst shape compared to who is doing the most to combat this issue, here’s a ranking breakdown of the worst roads and how much each state has let in infrastructure projects this year.
This letting dollar amount was pulled from our BidTabs.NET program. BidTabs.NET is a historical pricing and bid tabulation tool used by contractors, DOTs, universities, and the FHWA.
|State||Ranking||2020 Letting $ Amount|
How the Infrastructure Bill Can Help
In July of this year, the House passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to increase funding for roads, transit, water projects, schools, affordable housing, and more. However, the bill has gone stagnant in the Senate as both parties argue over the Green initiatives that billions of dollars will be allocated to if it passes.
While a bi-partisan solution does not look promising at this time (especially before the election), it still begs the question: what would a federal bill do for infrastructure across the country?
For one, it will require an increase in state funds for roads, bridges, and transit spending. The hope is that the bill will require states to add the allocated federal funds on top of what they already budgeted for infrastructure (something that the 2009 stimulus bill lacked).
Also, the vision laid out by President Trump since his 2016 campaign is a “$1 trillion infrastructure package he said would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and rebuild roads, bridges, ports, and airports.”
Needless to say, if this bill gets passed it gives a huge boost to the heavy/highway construction industry and decreases national unemployment.
Until then, America’s infrastructure stays in a state of decay, just waiting for our industry to give it the facelift it desperately needs.