The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is out with its 2013 report card on America’s infrastructure, and it’s not a pretty picture (note: click on image to “embiggen”) – either for the country as a whole, or for Virginia specifically. Virginia gets a D+ grade, with problems like:
*1,250 structurally deficient bridges
*47% of roads either in poor or mediocre shape
*184 high-hazard dams
*Billions of dollars needed for wastewater and drinking water upgrades.
*Over 46% of schools over 40 years old.
*Pressing needs for improvements in Virginia’s power grid and alternative energy sources, or else “electrical power rates must increase between 50 and 70 percent over the next 10 years”
Since Gov. McDonnell is currently considering what to do with the recently-passed transportation bill, it’s worth highlighting that the ASCE full report on Virginia gives our roads a D- grade, for the following reasons:
Increasing traffic congestion on Virginia roads is choking major urban areas and is having a negative impact on businesses, commuters, and tourists. VTrans 2025 identifies a funding shortfall for road investment of $74 billion. In the last three fiscal year budgets (2008-2010) transportation funding has decreased 38% or by $3.2 billion. If current trends continue by 2014, state highway funds will be insufficient to match federal funds, resulting in Virginia losing its share of federal funding.
As for rail and transit, the report finds that a “sustainable source of funding for new or expanded rail and transit services is critical to Virginia’s future economic success.” Last but not least, “more than 50 percent of the state’s bridges are approaching the end of their anticipated service design lives, making Virginia’s bridges among the oldest in the
Clearly, based on this report, Virginia needs to invest heavily in upgrading its transportation, and other, infrastructure. With regard to the transportation bill sitting on Gov. McDonnell’s desk, the amount of new revenues generated would be $880 million when the package is fully phased in, around 2018. Clearly, that’s better than nothing, but based on the ASCE report, it’s not even close to sufficient to make up the $74 billion funding shortfall for road investment mentioned in this report. And that’s not even counting rail and transit, ports and navigable waterways, and bridges. All of which means that one way or the other, we’ll be revisiting this transportation issue very soon. And no, Del. Dave Albo is NOT correct when he says he has “solved he problem” of transportation in Virginia. To the contrary, that’s just another laughable assertion from one of Virginia’s least serious, most ridiculous public officials.