Engineers Give Georgia Infrastructure a Grade of 'C'

ATLANTA, Georgia, January 14, 2009 (ENS) – The 2009 Georgia Infrastructure Report Card, released on Tuesday by the Georgia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, gave the state’s infrastructure a cumulative grade of ‘C.’

The engineers concluded that Georgia’s infrastructure requires an investment of more than $150 billion over the next 30 years to improve roads, water management, school facilities, solid waste and transit.

Twelve infrastructure areas were graded: wastewater, stormwater, drinking water, energy, dams, school facilities, transit, bridges, airports, roads, solid waste and parks. The parks category was evaluated for the first time this year.

The grades were: a B+ to airports, B- to energy, C+ to drinking water and school facilities, C to solid waste and wastewater, C- to bridges, D+ to roads, stormwater and transit, and D to dams and parks.

“Funding for transit, roads and bridges is still woefully inadequate while our population and vehicle congestion continues to grow at record pace,” the engineers said in their report.

A view of downtown Atlanta, Georgia (Photo by Rancho Cocoa)

The Georgia Section of ASCE represents more than 3,000 civil engineering professionals who live and work in Georgia. A committee of 25 volunteer practicing civil engineers was assembled to collect, review and evaluate data, and develop grades and recommendations.

Georgia Section President Tim Bricker, PE, said, “As civil engineers responsible for public safety, health and welfare, it is our obligation to inform residents and policymakers of the condition of Georgia’s infrastructure. Since the release of our first Report Card five years ago, Georgia’s infrastructure has shown very little improvement and once again received a cumulative grade of C. If we delay action and fail to address the state’s infrastructure needs, we are going to experience a significant degradation of our quality of life.”

Some areas have seen important improvements, including wastewater, school facilities, airports and solid waste.

In wastewater, the city of Atlanta alone has invested more than $1 billion since 2003 in improving its sewers.

Progress has also been made in the regional and state-wide planning of water, wastewater and stormwater with the development of the Georgia Comprehensive State-wide Water Management Plan.

However, the report warns that continued state funding will be critical for the successful implementation of the management plan, which includes the development of regional water conservation and development plans.

Growth and economic development in Georgia over the last several decades have outpaced increases in infrastructure capacity and too much preventative maintenance has been deferred. Funding for transit, roads and bridges is still woefully inadequate while population and vehicle congestion continue to grow at record pace.

Georgia has also underfunded the Safe Dams Program, the engineers advise. More than 33 percent of high-hazard dams, which could cause loss of life if they fail, are considered deficient by state standards. The large number of deficient high-hazard dams puts both lives and property at risk.

In the ASCE’s National’s most recent Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, issued in 2005, the engineers assigned the nation’s infrastructure a cumulative grade of D, down from a D+ in 2001, and estimated a $1.6 trillion investment is needed over the next five years to bring infrastructure up to a good condition.

A new ASCE national report card is expected shortly.

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