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U.S. Infrastructure Declines to a 'D' Grade

March 15, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Traffic-choked roads and transit cutbacks are eroding the quality of American life, reports MSNBC and the Associated Press.A report by the American Society of Civil Engineers released on March 9 assessed the four-year trend in the condition of 12 categories of infrastructure, and according to the analysis, the nation's infrastructure earned an overall grade of D, a decline from the D+ given in 2001 and 2003.Overall conditions remained the same for bridges, dams and solid waste, the group said, and worsened in roads, drinking water, transit, wastewater, hazard waste, navigable waterways and energy. "The condition of our nation's roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other public works have shown little to no improvement since they were graded an overall D+ in 2001, with some areas sliding toward failing grades," the society said. The report said $1.6 trillion should be spent over the next five years to alleviate potential problems with the nation's infrastructure. Transportation alone requires $94 billion in annual spending, the report said, yet gets only $59 billion. "Americans are spending more time stuck in traffic and less time at home with their families," William Henry, the group's president, said in a statement. "We need to establish a comprehensive, long-term infrastructure plan as opposed to our current 'patch and pray' method to ensure a better quality of life for everyone."Other highlights: Many transit systems are borrowing money to maintain operations as they're raising fees and cutting back service. (Grade: D+)
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