Infrastructure in the News: No Rest for Weary Infrastructure

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Romantic dates, the Grammy awards and celebrating black history are not the only milestones of this week; the Oroville dam crisis in California and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)’s 2017 national bridge report are drawing equal media attention.

The recent Oroville dam crisis in California, captured by sources like National Geographic, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and TIME Magazine, thrust a spotlight on our nation’s dams. According to FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program Fact Sheet, Oroville is one of more than 90,000 dams across the country that are underfunded and likewise vulnerable to overflow. According to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), the average dam is more than 50 years old and more than 4,000 of them have been deemed deficient, or needing repairs. Thus, many other states are starting to pay closer attention to the state of their dams.

In addition to dams, ARTBA’s new 2017 bridge report highlights our nation’s bridge needs. The report reveals that there are 185 million daily crossings on nearly 56,000 structurally deficient U.S. bridges, including 13,000 that need replacement, widening or major reconstruction. “America’s highway network is woefully underperforming. It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization,” said Alison Premo Black, chief economist of ARTBA. “State and local transportation departments haven’t been provided the resources to keep pace with the nation’s bridge needs.”

With so much recent overt attention to dam and bridge infrastructure, the timing of our upcoming 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure couldn’t be better. Stay tuned for more information about our nation’s infrastructure need by sector, which will be disclosed when the Report Card is released on March 9.

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