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Failing the Grade

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The recent release of the 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Card showed no improvement in the overall grade for the nation’s infrastructure, holding steady at D+ overall, compared to the last report issued in 2013. The ASCE defines a “D” grade as one that finds “the infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of serious concern with strong risk of failure.”

Twenty-Eight civil engineers from across the country volunteer their time to work with the ASCE Infrastructure Initiatives staff to review data and consult with technical and industry experts to assign the grade. Eight criteria are used to evaluate infrastructure, including the capacity for such infrastructure to keep pace with future growth; the capacity of planned funding to meet future needs and the impact the current state could have on public safety.

“We have been in a mass, collective state of denial about how important these systems are” – Casey Dinges, Sr. Managing Director, ACSE (call out)

In a further study examining the impact of the widening gap between the failing condition of the nation’s infrastructure and the funding needed to improve it, losses were quantified in ways that go beyond the dollar figures needed to fund the improvements:

  • $3.9 trillion in losses to the U.S. GDP by 2025
  • $7 trillion in lost business sales by 2025
  • 5 million lost American jobs in 2025

And to bring the dollars home on a more personal level, it is estimated that around $3,400 in disposable income is lost annually, per family, due to things like poor roads, traffic congestion, flooding and power outages.

On top of these expenses, the private infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines, serving families’ homes, have been subjected to the same elements that are causing our nation’s infrastructure to fail. When a private water or sewer line breaks, it can bring a repair bill that is several thousands of dollars.

The National League of Cities (NLC) Service Line Warranty Program, administered by Utility Service Partners, Inc., offers homeowners an affordable protection plan through partnerships with cities – at no cost to the city.

Learn how to bring this valuable NLC program to your city today.

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