Infrastructure in the USA

I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse
I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse (2007)

The American Society of Civil Engineers has prepared a report card on the USA’s infrastructure. It’s a sobering read. They give the nation an overall rating of D+, noting that, for example, 70,000 bridges are in need of repair, and US$3.6 trillion needs to be spent by 2020. The image above, of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge which collapsed in 2007, illustrates the problem. Another bridge collapsed in Washington state in 2013.

Overall Score D+
Energy D+
Schools D
Public Parks & Recreation C−
Transit D
Roads D
Rail C+
Ports C
Inland Waterways D−
Bridges C+
Aviation D
Wastewater D
Solid Waste B−
Levees D−
Hazardous Waste D
Drinking Water D
Dams D

Scores vary from state to state. Texas gets an overall C (mediocre), for example, and Colorado a C+, while Michigan gets only a D (poor). The Flint water crisis is one of the more notable infrastructure problems in that state.

Addressing these infrastructure problems, although expensive, would certainly restore some of the jobs that the USA has lost over the last few years, and would make the USA more globally competitive. The places with the best infrastructure are Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

Damaged highway in Vermont
Damaged highway in Vermont (2008)

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