Yesterday on XM Sirius, we discussed Infrastructure.

One of the callers was a civil engineer who suggested we take a look at the US Infrastructure Report Card (infrastructurereportcard.org), which grade the US on a variety of factors. The 2009 Grades include: Aviation (D), Bridges (C), Dams (D), Drinking Water (D-), Energy (D+), Hazardous Waste (D), Inland Waterways (D-), Levees (D-), Public Parks and Recreation (C-), Rail (C-), Roads (D-), Schools (D), Solid Waste (C+), Transit (D), and Wastewater (D-).

Overall, America’s Infrastructure GPA was graded a “D.” To get to an “A” requires a 5 year infrastructure investment of $2.2 Trillion dollars. Hence, you can understand if I am underwhelmed by the latest $50B proposal.

Each individual state is also graded; NY’s is after the jump.


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click for interactive site

Lets use New York State as an example to see key infrastructure ratings:

• 42% of New York’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

• There are 391 high hazard dams in New York. A high hazard dam is defined as a dam whose failure would cause a loss of life and significant property damage.
48 of New York’s 5,089 dams are in need of rehabilitation to meet applicable state dam safety standards.
• 36% of high hazard dams in New York have no emergency action plan (EAP). An EAP is a predetermined plan of action to be taken including roles, responsibilities and procedures for surveillance, notification and evacuation to reduce the potential for loss of life and property damage in an area affected by a failure or mis-operation of a dam.
• New York’s drinking water infrastructure needs an investment of $14.81 billion over the next 20 years.
• New York ranked 6th in the quantity of hazardous waste produced and 2nd in the total number of hazardous waste producers.
• New York’s ports handled 96 million tons of waterborne traffic in 2005, ranking it 11th in the nation.
• New York reported an unmet need of $707 million for its state public outdoor recreation facilities and parkland acquisition.
• 46% of New York’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
• 45% of New York’s major urban highways are congested.
• Vehicle travel on New York’s highways increased 41% from 1990 to 2007.
• New York has $21.82 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs.

Category: Digital Media, Economy, Investing

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

47 Responses to “US Infrastructure Report Card: “D””

  1. Julia Chestnut says:

    OH NO – they’d rather spend the money propping up the sagging guts of a few rich investment bankers.

    Of course, this would have been the perfect place to employ Americans during the recession, and the right way to stimulate the economy. Instead, we’ll just keep sinking into the third world.

    But sales are up at Tiffany’s. So I’m sure we’ll all be fine.

  2. Super-Anon says:

    I give it an F-

    No new roads and tons of new potholes where I live in the past year. Since when do potholes cost a trillion dollars to build?

  3. vboring says:

    Brought to you by the American Society for Civil Engineers, the amazing conclusion that the members of the ASCE really should be given $2.2T – think of the kids.

    If US infrastructure is a D, which country gets an A? I’ve been around the block a few times and can only think of two places with better infrastructure: Germany and Japan. Everywhere else I’ve seen is markedly worse. It seem the only way to get better infrastructure is through soul-crushing conformity and social structure stability.

  4. financial says:

    The U.S. is in very good company. For the past 20 years most OECD economies of under invested in their infrastructure. Up here in Quebec, we had a tragedy a few years ago, when a viaduct suddenly collapsed with substantial loss of life. A massive program of infrastructure rehabilitation was put in place, and Government accounting was changed to take, automatically, the cost of repair and refurbishment out of the government’s budget.

    As roads, bridges, viaducts and other system begin edging closer to failure the impact on our daily life can be considerable. The problem today is that the Federal government is broke, the states are broke and the cities are broke.

    Its just not very sexy for a politician to announce that such and such road/bridge/dam will be repaired and maintained. of course in the U.S. you have the added burden of a weak power infrastructure to add to the mess.

  5. bobmitchell says:

    This is way too close to home for me. The way money is spent on the few projects that get done is mind boggling.

    For instance the feds have completely taken over funding for water projects. This means that in order for a project to get funding, they need to use federal specifications. Guess who already got in there to make sure they get the majority cut of the money spent? Large multi nationals, usually not even based in the US. I’ve seen 50 million dollar projects where 200k would work, if done another way. “But the local muni got 40 million from the feds.” Do the math, this is an actual example.

    On the other end, Sewer projects are something no one wants to think about. How boring.

    http://www.mass.gov/ig/publ/lynnwwrp.pdf

    For those with the time and energy, read this report. It is a great example of how badly managed these projects can be, and exactly how many people can make a ton of money doing nothing. A little out of date, but the same cabal is back in the drivers seat now.

    The muni bond market, where they raise the money for construction, is also rife with corruption.

    http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=anW3hAG0Zw5k&pos=1

    The work needs to be done, no doubt, but someone has to get the rent seekers the hell out of the way first. There are PLENTY of good people and good firms ready and willing to do the work necessary, but there is a lot more money to be stolen by people with lots of political connections at the federal level and no problems fleecing the public.

  6. Lariat1 says:

    I saw a lot of roadwork being done all through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The roads were better in Newfoundland than here in upper Hudson valley. The state roads are literally broken but our county roads are in beautiful shape. They are finally working on the overpass, freebie 90, and you can see through the salt rusted rebar. It doesn’t help that the state uses pure salt during the winter. That’s so people can get to work right on time no matter what. And it will get worse. No money and Albany has been broken for years.

  7. super_trooper says:

    “Drinking Water (D-)”, at least alcohol containing drinks are safer.

  8. dsawy says:

    It gets even worse if we look at the mis-prioritization of funds that are allocated to infrastructure projects.

    Far too much money is being spent on new roads, new rest stops, “interpretive centers” and other such stuff. The reason why is that politicians love to talk about what is new. They don’t win much PR for saying “I got highway funds to rebuild our roads” in most states. In a few states, they do – eg, Wyoming’s governor and legislators getting money to just maintain I-80, but the level of funding necessary to maintain I-80 is very large compared to the state budget of Wyoming, so it becomes a state-wide political issue to merely get money for maintenance.

    Another part of the problem in the west has been real estate developers, who love to campaign for new roads into new undeveloped areas to carry traffic to/from their large developments. When one looks around Las Vegas, for example, you see considerable investment in expanding the “interstate” system to make commutes from developments at some remove from the center of Las Vegas happen at 70MPH.

    So net/net, the problem is twofold: a stupid mis-allocation of the monies that are spent on infrastructure, and a lack of overall funding for infrastructure maintenance.

  9. Tobias Funke says:

    Unfortunately as the problems continue to get worse the construction industry and related fields have taken some of the biggest hits in this recession. If the day actually comes when the government wants to spend the money to maintain what they have, let alone actually improve something, the workforce to get it done is not going to be available. On the other hand China and India are gradually growing enormous construction and engineering capability, so maybe we can borrow money from them and pay them to fix our shit.

  10. Lariat1 says:

    Re Bobmitchell: We subbed on one state bridge job and swore, never again. A colossal load of bullshit and hoops to jump through and I hate to say it but a crew of state engineers that really didn’t have a clue in some areas. My husband said it was actually scary to watch them second guessing themselves over things.

  11. Robespierre says:

    I’m all for using tax money to pay and build infrastructure. I’m also for an increase in gas tax to be used for public transportation systems and road maintenance. But I’m really feed up with the nickel and dime toll rip off on just about every road in USA. BTW EC countries are way ahead the US when it comes to roads, public transportation, nuclear energy and most stuff that has wide ranging social value damn socialists.

  12. Arequipa01 says:

    The MIC Nazzie sez: “No bridge for you!”

    http://mikephilbin.blogspot.com/2010/08/corporate-war-machine-cost-of-munitions.html

    Those bombs aren’t cheap, and you don’t find depleted uranium laying around like pine cones (unless you’re in Fallujah), so quit yer reasonable argumentationin’ and shoulder the cost of genius-level geopolitics.

    Next masterstroke- threatening China with a new generation of weaponized lasers (made with Rare Earth Elements, made in China!)…yay!

  13. ashpelham2 says:

    And bobmitchell summed it all up beautifully: all of this work is being done by overpriced, well-connected outfits who supposedly “outbid” their competition. Anytime there is an emergency, no-bid project in Alabama, especially the Birmingham metro, it’s usually always 1 of 2 or 3 different firms who do it. And honestly, they don’t have that much competition, in the strictest sense of the word. There just aren’t that many outfits who have the scale and manpower at their disposal to do some of these heavy infrastructure repair jobs that go bump in the night.

    FYI, we’ve had several large coils of steel roll off tractor trailer trucks at 2am on the main thoroughfares through Birmingham, almost always punching a hole in the road surface or the median walls. These must be repaired quickly.

    Outside of all that, it’s just a tough business to be in. Only the feds spend money on it, and it’s prohibitively expensive to work outside of a certain geographic area.

    Bureaucracy at it’s best.

  14. ACS says:

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. We spend TONS of money on infrastructure. Just ask the contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan!

  15. drewburn says:

    It’s a good thing we diverted all that capital to build houses!

    Seriously, proper investment in large scale infrastructure has been hugely productive in the past. Unfortunately, there are those who thing private business should do everything, like building toll roads. As I’ve said before the economic growth created by projects like interstate highways, the Mississippi, Missouri and Great Lakes systems of locks and dams. The Panama Canal. Even the Marshall Plan.

  16. bobmitchell says:

    ACS

    So true. The majority of the cost for ANY large civil project is for fuel. There was a recent report out that said that the cost of a gallon of fuel in Afganistan was over $400. Cost plus, gotta love it.

  17. Arequipa01 says:

    Minnesota bridge collapse:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3129182n

    Report by Ben Tracy- a reporter would later go on to interview George Lopez and make him cry like a little girl!

    Buen trabajo, choche! jajaja!

  18. You know, grades are a relative matter. Exactly what are these grades measured against? Did they grade the infrastructure in our client state of Iraq before we ceased combat operations there? After all the billions we poured into their infrastructure, they still are worse off than before we arrived. Did they get like an “I” for “incomplete” or “improving” or “idiots”? No running water, intermittent electricity even in major cities, bombed-out roads (talk about potholes). Yet we spent about $500 billion supposedly improving and fixing things. I’d hate to see what our grades would look like here were we to pour that much money into the pockets of corrupt contractors.

    Obama’s infrastructure plan is no different than his rescue of the UAW–a way to pay off the people that voted for him.

  19. bergsten says:

    Actually it’s (all) worse than that.

    Much of this infrastructure has existed for as much as one hundred years.

    Can you possibly imagine anyone today building anything that might last for ten years, let alone one hundred?

    I’m not sure I’d feel “safer” traveling over something new. Can’t wait to see how the new Oakland part of the Oakland-Bay bridge turns out.

  20. WFTA says:

    Why weren’t the thoroughly incompetent Democrats that I consistently support shouting this from the rafters in January 2009? They should have made the same case for universal health care.

  21. bobmitchell says:

    The curmudgeon might have a point if the total labor cost of these jobs were anywhere near the lofty 10-15% levels of the auto industry.

  22. Joe Retail says:

    Yes, it’s “sexier” for politicians to announce new construction than to correct deferred maintenance problems. The implicit assumption – and it has worked not too badly for the past fifty years or so – is that you don’t have to allocate money for maintenance up front because you can always fund it out of growth. Unfortunately this model doesn’t allow for economic stability, let alone decline.

  23. Arequipa01 says:

    Failure (or unwillingness?) to gauge risk- it is an endemic flaw in the US system. Finance guys are the worst risk evaluators in our society. That includes you.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/12220.html

    “Pawlenty was criticized by House Transportation Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) and other members of the state’s congressional delegation last year for being slow to apply for disaster funding relief after the tragedy and for vetoing state legislation that would have invested millions in the state’s infrastructure.

    The state of Minnesota was recently highlighted in House legislation for spending only 51 percent of its federal bridge funding on bridges over the past five years. Just last weekend, a 1,200-pound slab of concrete fell from the bottom of a St. Paul bridge, damaging two vehicles. No one was injured.

    “I would certainly hope that while members are in Minnesota, they would visit the new bridge and reflect on the country’s need for infrastructure funding,” said Ray McCabe, a bridge expert with engineering firm HNTB who has testified before Congress. “

  24. Arequipa01 says:

    @Mannwich the Minnesotaficated

    Minnesota trivia challenge

    If you can tell me the nickname of Ben Tracy’s famous forebear, I will send you a loon’s weight in wild rice!

    Clock is ticking.

  25. pintelho says:

    One fear I have about discussion about infrastructure is about building high speed rail in places where there is not supporting public transportation…like that crazy idea they are planning in Florida (connecting Orlando and Miami)…who the hell is going to take a train to a place where you then have to rent a car to get around? These are not walkable cities…

    In most places high speed rail doesn’t make sense, exceptions include Washington-Boston-NYC-Philadelphia…all three cities have decent public transportation and all three could majorly benefit from high speed rail….put a high speed rail in the midwest and nobody will ride it…cuz there aint a way to get around once you are off the thing with only your feet to make you mobile.

    on a not so totally unrelated note:
    check out
    SOLAR ROADWAYS

    http://solarroadways.com/

    It’s nothing but a brilliant idea…I hope they win the GE contest…

  26. I travel way too much for work — both domestically and overseas.

    The US is a 3rd world nation compared to just about anywhere in the Pacific Rim, huge swaths of China, and much of europe.

    I am embarrassed when German or UK clients come to NY (for all its gritty charms, NYC infrastructure is wanting).

    And don’t get me started on our 3 shithole airports.

  27. Joe Retail says:

    “And don’t get me started on our 3 shithole airports.”

    Private enterprise is wonderful but some things have to be subsidized to work, and I suspect airports are in this class.

    Passenger air is an inherently money-losing business, and the demand is so price sensitive that it is likely to remain that way. If passengers (via the airlines) have to pay the full cost of airports, this is what you get.

    Based on little real knowledge of the subject, I’m going to hazard a guess that this is why the airports in some of those other places (forget UK) impress you more.

  28. tax_me_more says:

    Who cares? You will be driving half as much in the future. Less money is needed for the old Industrial era infrastructure. It was an internet revolution not a Voltaic cell revolution, Lithium batteries will not power the future. Telecommute, web ex, video conference, virtual conference. This is why GOOG and Apple have all the cash. Build up the data transport infrastructure let your avatar travel for you and sit at home and get more obese.

  29. Arequipa01 says:

    This from BoingBoing may be of interest to some:

    70% of US federal spending reports don’t add up

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/09/08/70-of-us-federal-spe.html

  30. zitidiamond says:

    When we signed our national compact with Ronnie thirty years ago, it was understood that the private sector would take care of all of these things like infrastructure, and if they didn’t it was because the market had decided that these things were not important.

  31. wisedup says:

    for curmudgeon; at least when Obama pays off his supporters we actually get something the rest of us can use.

  32. VennData says:

    Tea Party gives US Infrastructure an A+ (adding, it’s way better than any damn Islamo-frastructure.)

    Always trust the Tea Party over the engineers. The engineers are all supremely selfish dandies, while the Tea Party (and their billionaire financiers) just don’t want to see America ruined by foppie, tax-loving, narcissists.

    Heck, we hardly every use the damn stuff, so why should we waste your money on it.

  33. Mcat says:

    Barry

    You almost fooled me. Who commissioned the survey or report card? I can understand infrastructure is in need of repair but when you tell us the report card is based on how much money is spent and those behind the report are the major benefactors of infrastructure spending, you lose all credibility.

    You must have been asleep on this one to let it slip this bad. Get some sleep!

  34. Andres says:

    As a Civil Engineer, the only thing I could say is that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)developed the Infrastructure Report Card to inform the public about the reality of a crumbling infrastructure. We consider ourselves stewards of the infrastructure and environment. Folks may think we’re self serving, but the reality is that Civil Engineers provide solutions for our society.

    Case in point, when we wake up we rely on our water infrastructure to provide us safe drinking water to brush our teeth. When we flush our toilets, we expect our waste to be taken out of our home safely. When we flick the light switch, we expect light – ASAP. When we get on mass transit or in a plane, we expect to get to where we’re going safe and on time. When we travel on our roads, we expect safe travels with the least congestion… etc, etc.

    It’s easy to point to Civil Engineers and call them self serving. The reality is that investing in our infrastructure serves the American Public. Sure, it generates design contracts for engineers and work for contractors – but the end result is a functioning system that provides both safety and quality of life to our society. In the end, who is the major benefactor? All Americans. Time to wake up.

  35. river says:

    I am also a civil engineer, and this study was commissioned/performed by the American Society of Civil Engineers. I think I put a link to this website on the thread a weak ago where Barry was asking about infrastructure. And what Meat says may have a bit of truth behind it . . . civil engineers would have a lot to gain by a big push in infrastructure spending, and as somebody who isn’t working for state governments directly (yet), I could see the benefit of independent cost controls to make sure what is getting fixed really needs to be fixed. But this list, to my knowledge, has been around since at least 2003 or 2004.

    A few examples of issues that point to the need for infrastructure . . . the Bay Bridge in San Francisco and its recent shut down, that steam pipe that blew up in New York city five or six years ago (I believe that it was thought to be a terrorist attack until they figured out what caused it), a 24″ water main in Maryland I believe, where the pipe broke and basically turned a street into a river. A couple people had to be airlifted from their cars to escape the flood waters. The Minneapolis bridge failure I wouldn’t exactly put in the same boat, as that was a design error when they originally designed/built the bridge back in the sixties. But there are many bridges that have issues with rebar corrosion.

  36. Andres says:

    @ River – The water main was actually a 66″ water main. see link to article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/23/AR2008122302853.html

    ASCE members use this as one of the examples; but there are many more.

    300 miles of deficient levees along the Mississipi are in need of repair – approximately $300 million worth of construction.

    close to 1/3 of our bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

    45% of our roads are congested – crippling the movement of goods.

    All of this requires smart investment. It’s not just about more money, it’s about studying our infrastructure and determining the most efficient way to spend our money. We need to create a smart grid that helps us make decisions about how to spend our money. This is the best way to invest our money in an objective way – a way that helps us understand how our infrastructure helps us and our economy grow.

  37. Tobias Funke says:

    @Mcat : The fact the industry preparing the report would benefit from following the suggestions doesn’t mean it’s not almost entirely true. Do you recall who convinced the government that it would be in the best interest of the country to bail out the financial industry? Do you know who has been convincing the government to keep defense spending going up year after year for 50+ years now? What major industry in America is NOT lobbying for more money to be spent in a way that benefits their members? The biggest difference in this case is that the group is advocating to fund something that we’ve collectively been spending less and less on every year for decades, and they are things that we all use every day but don’t actually pay to maintain. This work actually needs to get done, really. Water mains do not last forever, maybe you consider that outrageous but that’s a reality.

    When someone tells me that the things America built 50 or 100 years ago should be maintained or replaced, and I can literally look at the window and see exactly what they are talking about, I think they might just be right – even if they are going to be involved in fixing the problem.

  38. franklin411 says:

    Hello…I’ve been posting that Infrastructure Report Card link for the last 2 years. That’s OK…I don’t need a hat tip. I work for the People. =)

  39. philipat says:

    @vboring

    Hmmm, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, to name a few more. It should.t really come as any surprise when you consider that infrastructure in these places is all new. Nothing last forever, but the earth and sky.

  40. When we signed our national compact with Ronnie thirty years ago, it was understood that the private sector would take care of all of these things like infrastructure, and if they didn’t it was because the market had decided that these things were not important.

    this just about sums it. The U.S. is in the grip of a failed ideology, whose proponents are still partying over the collapse of the USSR.

  41. larry says:

    Hmm, who will the politicians listen to? A professional society of engineers or a ideological think tank of hacks?

    And for the people questioning the civil engineers (who aren’t getting rich, who studied and worked harder at their education than, say, an MBA)… well, I can only think of this study: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/08/weird-science-votes-everybody-useful-off-the-island.ars “[...] votes all the useful people off the island”. Nope, everyone should behave only in a profit-maximizing rent-seeking manner.

  42. formerlawyer says:

    As to the $400 per gallon cost of fuel – this is, as the Pentagon refers to it, the “fully burdened cost of fuel”. Afghanistan’s infrastructure is crap – a land locked country with supply trains out to Karachi, Pakistan where the fuel is offloaded from ships and then trucked (no rail remember) to depots in Afghanistan.

    See:
    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/63407-400gallon-gas-another-cost-of-war-in-afghanistan-

    Some takeaways –
    *Many Forward bases can only be suppled by helicopter
    *Much of the fuel is never used for mobility
    *44 trucks and 220,000 gallons of fuel were lost due to attacks or other events while delivering fuel to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan in June 2008 alone.

    Finally, the life-cycle of any infrastructure (primarily public works) would see a window, during which preventative maintenance and refurbishment can effectively extend the working life of the public work almost indefinitely, for example Germany’s Autobahn. That window is all but probably gone in the United States particularly given the deferral of maintenance for new “shiny” projects. In many cases outright replacement may be the only alternative.

  43. dsawy says:

    OK, let’s assume for a moment that the ASCE is a pack of self-serving grifters whom we need to cut out of the entire decision loop of suggesting infrastructure spending.

    Who is going to be reviewing or prioritizing infrastructure spending? MBA’s? Political Science majors? Perhaps lawyers! Yea, let’s have the lawyers do it. They’re running the rest of the country into the ground anyway, so let’s have the lawyers finish the job. Let’s get the best lawyers in the world to do the job: graduates of Harvard Law School. Let’s give Barney Frank a raise and have him switch from writing financial regulation to writing standards for dams and bridges.

    All you dirt engineers, kick back and crack the top off a cold one. Let’s see how the Harvard MBA’s and Law School graduates do at dams and bridges… if their success at business and banking is any indication, I think we engineers could make a bundle by speculating on future beachfront property in the Imperial Valley of California.

  44. Dow says:

    When did America turn so unbelievably lazy? It used to be that Americans actually enjoyed building things and built them well no less.

  45. ACS says:

    The solution is obvious. Declare war on China. China blows up all our infrastructure. We surrender. China rebuilds all our infrastructure. Hopefully most of the collateral damage will consist of bankers, CEOs, and politicians. Easy!

  46. KJMClark says:

    Geez Barry, you fell for that hook, line, and sinker.

    “• 42% of New York’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.” – structurally deficient could mean either that the bridge is falling apart or they want to be able to allow heavier trucks to use it. Functionally obsolete means that either traffic occasionally backs up or someone projects that traffic might occasionally back up at some point in the future. In some cases these are “needs”, but in many cases these are desires, typically of developers or planners funded by developers. Have their “need” projections changed now that the house development bubble has burst?

    “• There are 391 high hazard dams in New York.” – but how many are actually at risk of failing? Notice it doesn’t say anything about that.

    “• New York’s drinking water infrastructure needs an investment” – What does “needs” mean here? How is that different from “desirable”?

    “• New York reported an unmet need of $707 million” – There’s that “need” word again. This is usually a code word for “it’s listed in our plan, but not funded”. Some of that probably is “needed”, but the plans I’ve seen have lots of desirables listed too, that become unmet needs when they aren’t yet funded.

    “• 46% of New York’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.” – are they then unusable? Are they poor or mediocre because they regularly cause significant damage to vehicles being operated at a safe speed for conditions, or because they aren’t new and have been planned for an upgrade?

    I think I need higher pay, more time with my family, a nice European vacation, and a new car. Oh wait, really, I think I need to get back to work, enjoy the time I spend with my family, save for a vacation somewhere I can afford, and bondo and paint my car. That first list sure would be nice though. Let’s call those unmet needs.

  47. Andres says:

    @ KJMClark – >Points of clarification:

    Bridges –
    Structurally deficient means that the bridge cannot carry the legal truck loads (weight). If trucks cannot safely cross, the bridge is posted to a lower weight. Those trucks then have to be re-routed, usually causing delays in the delivery of goods and congestion in other roads.

    Functionally obsolete means that the bridge does not meet current geometric design. In other words it is not safe to travel across based on current design policy. Examples include if the bridge has no shoulder or has an undersized sidewalk. These safety measures affect how traffic crosses the bridge; usually creating bottlenecking, congestion or accidents.

    Dams/levees –
    The report actually has a lot to say about dams and levees. But you don’t have to take our word for it. See the following article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-09-09-levees_N.htm
    Deficient dams and levees cause significant property damage and loss of life. Hurricane Katrina should serve as an example of that.

    Drinking water –
    Our underground water distribution system is between 50-100 years old. See my previous posting about the results of a failing water infrastructure (66” diameter pipe bursts, causing a significant stretch of commuter roadway to shut down).

    Parks and Recreation –
    $707 million needed in New York refers to their parklands. Each state accounts for a certain amount of tourism and quality of life from their parklands. In NJ, the beaches are a major source of revenue; but while this income is generated, it is typically used in a general fund and a small part re-invested in the parkland/resource. Eventually, the parkland needs upkeep.

    Roads in Poor condition –
    Aside from potholes costing drivers in car repairs, road congestions account for hours of lost time. These delays cripple our shipping/goods movement industry, take away from our personal lives, and grind our economy to a crawl. The report has the numbers, just read it.

    The Infrastructure affects our economy, security, quality of life and well-being. Please give me an instance where you don’t use the infrastructure, and I’ll show you a moment where you’ve ignored it.