The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), an organization committed to improving the nation’s infrastructure, has released its 2009 report card on the condition of America’s infrastructure. It graded 15 areas from Aviation to Wastewater for a national GPA of D, and estimates it will take $2.2 trillion over the next five years to bring the nation up to par.
ASCE is promoting a five-point solution to deteriorating infrastructure, beginning with a national vision.
1. Increase Federal Leadership in Infrastructure
America’s infrastructure needs bold leadership and a compelling national level vision. During the 20th Century, the federal government led the way in building our nation’s greatest infrastructure systems from the New Deal programs to the Interstate Highway System and the Clean Water Act. Since that time, federal leadership has decreased, and the condition of the nation’s infrastructure suffered. Currently most infrastructure investment decisions are made without the benefit of a national vision. That strong national vision must originate with strong federal leadership and be shared by all levels of government and the private sector Without a strong national vision, infrastructure will continue to deteriorate.
That would be good for national coherence, and to bring it home — as a friend pointed out to me the other day — a national blueprint could help minimize the misuse of federal funding for local pet projects.