The 2018 Report Card for Michigan’s Infrastructure, released today, gave the state an overall grade of a “D+.” Much of the state’s infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life and continues to threaten the state’s lakes, rivers, drinking water, and public health and safety. 13 categories of infrastructure were assessed by a group of expert civil engineers, and of those 13, nine categories were in mediocre condition and four were in poor condition. Michigan’s infrastructure ranged from the highest grade of “C+” for Solid Waste to the lowest grade of “D-” for Roads and Stormwater.
The 2018 report finds that much of Michigan’s infrastructure is old and outdated. In older cities, some systems date back to the late 1800s. Additionally, from 2009 to 2015, Michigan suffered from an economic downturn, and aging infrastructure systems were further impacted by underinvestment trends. The collective value of the personal and economic advantages that come from a robust infrastructure network are at risk, and Michigan’s residents and policymakers must prioritize infrastructure to mitigate these threats.
The release of Michigan’s grades is timely. As the seasons change and snow melts, Michigan’s roads have received attention in recent weeks. The “D-” category grade is reflective of the fact that just 18% of the state’s roads are in good condition. Also of concern is the state’s drinking water systems, which earned a “D,” in part due to the estimated $284 – $563 million annual funding gap. Michigan’s residents are also contending with a poor schools’ grade. Public school facilities in the state earned a “D+,” and the 2018 Report Card for Michigan’s Infrastructure found that nearly every district in the state has aging facilities.
In addition to publishing the 2018 Report Card for Michigan’s Infrastructure, ASCE members made recommendations on how to improve the grades. First, Michigan must support innovative policies. In addition to continuing to lead in the autonomous vehicle and freight movement spaces, the state must enact policies that facilitate high-quality data gathering and put asset management practices into placeSecond, state funding must be increased. While the Michigan legislature took first steps to increase transportation investment in 2015, much more must be done, including continuation of efforts to redesign the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water Revolving Fund. Third, ASCE Michigan recommends the prioritization of public health and safety, in part by properly maintaining existing infrastructure. Finally, ASCE’s civil engineers recommend to their fellow citizens that they be informed, be vocal, and learn more about infrastructure needs.
ASCE State Infrastructure Report Cards are modeled after the national Infrastructure Report Card, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of ‘D+’ in 2017. To read the full report and learn more about ASCE Michigan’s solutions to raise the grade, click here.