America's Infrastructure Shows Improvement, But Still Shameful

For the first time in 15 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers' report on the state of America's infrastructure sees improvement. But the group has identified the need for $3.6 trillion in investment by 2020 to fix enduring problems.
March 19, 2013, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Released every four years, "[t]he latest Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, released Tuesday, has an unexpected bit of qualified good news: the grade has inched up to a D+," reports John Schwartz. "It is the first time in the 15 years that the engineering organization has conducted its study that the grade has improved."

"Some connected trends have led to the shift, according to the engineering organization. It cited a rise in the private financing of public projects and renewed attention from state and local government to kick-start their own projects, rather than wait for Washington to send money. The jump in private investment was instrumental, for example, in the improved outlook for the nation’s rails, according to the report. That evaluation jumped to a C+ from a C-. The group also cited short-term increases in financing — a reference to President Obama’s economic stimulus package, which focused in part on 'shovel-ready' projects like road and bridge repair."

“When investments are made and projects move forward, the grades rise,” the report stated.

"Gregory E. DiLoreto, the group’s president, said, 'A D+ is simply unacceptable for anyone serious about strengthening our nation’s economy,' but he added that the improvement 'shows that this problem can be solved.'”

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Published on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in The New York Times
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