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National Event to Highlight Importance of Infrastructure Investment

Graphic courtesy of Infrastructure Week. 

The fifth annual Infrastructure Week will take place nationwide May 15-19. Businesses, labor organizations, elected officials and others will host more than 60 events across the country to raise awareness about the critical role of infrastructure in the U.S. economy and to advocate for more infrastructure investment from the government and private sector.

“The dire state of America’s infrastructure is one of the most pressing issues facing us as a nation, and the benefits of a stronger, better infrastructure system will be far-reaching and long-lasting,” said Zach Schafer, director of Infrastructure Week. “During Infrastructure Week, we bring together the public and private sector to encourage lawmakers to think long-term and invest in infrastructure at the federal, state and local level.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2017 Infrastructure Report Card was released last month. The National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) stated in its latest newsletter that while the bridge category fared better than other infrastructure types, it failed to make noticeable improvements in the four years since the last report card. In 2013 and 2017 ASCE gave bridges a “C+” grade, while overall American infrastructure was rated a “D+” both years.

According to the report, the number of structurally deficient bridges has steadily declined over the years to 9.1%, but the average age of all bridges continues to increase, suggesting greater investment is needed as more bridges reach the end of their useful life. In 2013, the average age of America’s 607,380 bridges was 42 years old. In 2017, the average age increased to 43 years old, even though the number of bridges increased by 7,000 to 614,387. This combination of aging bridges and increasing numbers escalated bridge investment needs by $2 billion over the four-year time period, to $123 billion.

ASCE suggests a number of solutions to alleviate the bridge investment backlog, including increasing funding across all levels of government and considering lifecycle costs to ensure that decisions are based not just on first costs but also on maintenance needs. NSBA supports these suggestions.

For more about Infrastructure Week, including a calendar of events, visit www.infrastructureweek.org. You can also use the hashtag #TimeToBuild on social media.


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