New Report Card Shows Idaho Infrastructure Makes Barely Passing Grades
The Southern Idaho Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently released the 2012 Report Card for Idaho’s infrastructure, which gives the state an overall grade of C-.
The vast majority of Idaho’s infrastructure lacks proper maintenance funding and is poorly equipped to deal with the increasing demands it’s faced with as the state continues to grow, the report says. While grades for aviation, road and bridge infrastructure have improved, funding remains inadequate to meet future capacity and funding needs.
“As civil engineers in the state of Idaho, we have a responsibility to safeguard the life, health, property and welfare of the public,” says Scott M. Wood, president of ASCE Southern Idaho. “We believe it is part of this responsibility to provide the public, including our elected leaders, with critical information about the current state of our infrastructure.”
The first report of its kind in Idaho, ASCE’s Southern Idaho Section released the report card at the Idaho State Capitol, with ASCE National President-elect Greg E. DiLoreto and ASCE Region 8 Gov. Pat White in attendance.
“Idaho now has a clear picture of where its infrastructure stands and what to prioritize as legislators look to invest in Idaho’s vital infrastructure and economy,” says White.
The report card provides an evaluation and letter grade for Idaho’s aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water systems, energy, local highways, freight and passenger railroads, schools, state highways, transit and wastewater systems. The study is a state-focused report similar to ASCE’s Report Card on America’s Infrastructure, which reviewed the nation’s infrastructure and gave it an overall rating of D-.
“The problems our nation’s infrastructure faces are significant, and that’s evident in Idaho,” says DiLoreto. “In the Rocky Mountain West, a road out of commission means that freight can’t make their deliveries and your neighbors must take long detours, or perhaps can’t go to their destinations. These transportation systems move Idaho’s citizens and goods, as well as support local communities. Investment is important to keep the state’s economy moving.”
Industry experts from public agencies, private firms and nonprofits led the report card effort. More than 25 civil engineering experts compiled issue briefs of 11 different infrastructure categories over the last 18 months. To arrive at grades for each area of infrastructure, volunteers examined physical conditions, capacity and future needs, and studied funding sources and trends that impact maintenance and upgrades. In nearly every area, lack of funding was cited as a reason for poor physical conditions.
Of the infrastructure areas, bridges, state highways, transit and passenger rail rank the lowest in Idaho, with local highways and schools not far behind. The following are the 2012 Idaho Report Card grades:
• Aviation – C
• Bridges – D+
• Dams – C