Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases its report card on America's infrastructure which examines current conditions and needs, assigns grades and makes recommendations to raise them. An assessment of the nation's 16 major infrastructure categories, the report card is a useful benchmark to track the progress of US infrastructure and serves as a periodic reminder to everyone just how important infrastructure is to the nation. The 16 categories are aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, transit, and waste water.
The most recent report card came out more than a year ago in March of 2017 with America's overall Grade Point Average (GPA) a dismal Di-. With President Trump's focus on infrastructure and Congress seeming to agree that infrastructure was indeed a priority, it felt more likely than other years that we would see progress on areas ASCE identified as deficient. But thus far there has been little real action, though that may soon change as the Senate just recently and overwhelmingly passed legislation that would provide $1 billion in infrastructure grants.
These grants, known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program, have been implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to replace the pre-existing Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. BUILD grants are intended for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. The funding can support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation, with projects evaluated on safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection, state of good repair, innovation, partnership, and additional non-Federal revenue for future transportation infrastructure investments.
Being an association of transportation and logistics professionals, you may already be asking 'so how is our commercial transportation infrastructure doing?' That's a bit of a mixed bag. The rail industry fares the best, holding the highest grade on the entire report card at a B. This should not be entirely surprising to anyone who tracks (no pun intended) the rail industry's continuous investments in its infrastructure. A majority...