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Colorado Receives a C+ on 2008 Infrastructure Report Card

January 6, 2009

ASCE report gives the state’s roads the lowest score, a D+

DENVER, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ — The Colorado Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released Colorado’s infrastructure Report Card today, assigning an overall 2008 grade of C+, with a D+ for roads being the lowest score in the 13 categories rated. ASCE warns that unless further investments in infrastructure maintenance and development are made available, the statewide grade will fall to a C by 2010.

A consortium of infrastructure leaders and industry experts developed the ASCE Report Card over the course of a year. An update to the 2003 report, the evaluation covers air quality, aviation, bridges, dam safety, drinking water, energy, environmental cleanup, solid waste, mass transit, roads, wastewater treatment, water supply and, for the first time, the capability of the state’s engineering schools to produce enough civil engineers to address infrastructure needs.

Environmental cleanup is the only sector that has significantly improved since 2003. Air quality is expected to improve slightly by 2010. However, roads, mass transit, energy and education by 2010 are all expected to be functioning in the “D” category, meaning functionally inadequate, unless further funding sources are acquired.

“Addressing deferred maintenance is critical. Much of Colorado’s infrastructure is wearing out, neglected, or simply insufficient,” said Jeff May, president of the ASCE Colorado Section and chairman of the Report Card Committee. “The need for rehabilitation and expansion to accommodate growth is urgent. Planning, replacing, and repairing our infrastructure needs to become more routine, similar to an oil change.”

ASCE supports the Colorado Transportation Finance and Implementation Panel’s recommendations as a first step in addressing overall infrastructure needs. May noted that the federal and state gasoline taxes have not been increased since the early 1990s and their value has been eroded by inflation. Now fuel consumption is falling which further cuts tax receipts.

Based on the report findings, ASCE is recommending that the state legislature enact a Colorado Infrastructure Improvement Act to establish a Colorado State Commission on Sustainable Infrastructure to provide coordinated, rather than piecemeal, infrastructure planning. The organization says that during the review it became evident that maintenance and reconstruction of infrastructure will be a significant issue in the immediate future. ASCE also recommends that Colorado legislature establish a State Infrastructure Bank to finance identified infrastructure projects.

The ASCE recommendations align with sentiments from Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, who recently requested national funds for improvements to the state’s infrastructure. His “Sample Stimulus Project List” includes more than $1 billion towards highway projects and $144 million in transit projects.

In addition, Colorado is experiencing significant demographic and economic growth that requires expansion of existing infrastructure. May explained that the land use patterns, water, energy, transportation and waste management investment decisions need to meet human needs while conserving and protecting environmental quality and the natural resource base essential for future development. Over the next 30 years, Colorado will have to accommodate the needs of more than 3 million additional residents.

“We must assure the public that we are not only providing jobs to stimulate the economy, but also that we are providing value,” said May. “A long-term strategy for sustainable infrastructure is urgently needed.”

Founded in 1909, the Colorado Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 3,600 civil engineers. The full Report Card can be accessed online at http://sections.asce.org/colorado/index.htm

SOURCE The Colorado Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers


Source: newswire



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