September 29, 2015 | By: Brittney Kohler

IRC-NY_LogoIn the inaugural 2015 Report Card for New York’s Infrastructure released today, the state received an overall grade of “C-” from the New York Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Assessing nine categories, the report finds that the state’s roads and bridges are among the categories most in need of repair, receiving grades of “D-” and “D+” respectively because of their state of deterioration and lack of adequate funding to improve conditions. In addition, wastewater received a low grade of “D.” The category of parks and solid waste both earned the highest grade of “B-.”

New York's infrastructure faces several challenges and, in its current condition, the infrastructure system is a drag on the state's economy. These challenges are highlighted in the Report Card:

  • The three airports servicing New York City account for a majority of the nation’s airport delays. By the year 2030, JFK is expected to exceed its current traveler capacity by 30%, and ten other commercial service airports in New York will also exceed 60% of the current capacities.
  • Of New York’s more than 17,000 bridges, the majority were built in the 20th century, with over 50% of bridges over 75 years old. Nationally, the average age of a bridge is 42 years.
  • The average New York City area commuter, which accounts for half the state’s population, wastes 53 hours per year sitting in traffic.
  • Poor road conditions and traffic congestion cost motorists a total of $6.3 billion statewide—an average of $477 per Syracuse motorists.
  • The State of New York is only spending 20% of what is needed to modernize the wastewater system.
  • One in every four of New York’s wastewater facilities are operating beyond their 30-year useful life expectancy.

“As one of the oldest cities in the country, New York has aging infrastructure that serves a constantly growing population. We are home to iconic infrastructure such as the Brooklyn Bridge, but the entire network of infrastructure matters—not just the recognizable landmarks,” said Bud Griffis, P.E., Ph.D. New York Report Card Committee Chair. “The Report Card shows that our infrastructure is only as good as the weakest links and that we have a lot of areas that need improvement. Luckily, our governor and mayor have been implementing policies that will help address these needs, and strengthen the economy.”

Among the recommendations detailed in the report to raise the grades:recommendations

  • Create a prioritization program to assess the state’s transportation infrastructure needs starting from existing bridge asset management programs and based on accepted standards.
  • Develop more consistent funding sources of funding for dams and support the creation of dam rehabilitation funding legislation at the federal and state levels for public and private owners of high hazard and intermediate hazard dams.
  • As infrastructure is being rebuilt, make it more resilient and sustainable.

"A solid, sustainable, twenty first infrastructure is the level playing field we need to spur economic growth in cities across our state and country," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. "From water mains to roads and bridges to the next generation of broadband technology, these are the critical components needed to keep our communities growing in the right direction. I urge the State of New York to increase its investment in municipal infrastructure to help our cities thrive.”

A team of professional engineers from across New York assessed the nine categories of infrastructure to reach the cumulative grade of “C-.” The categories include Aviation (C), Bridges (D+), Dams (C-), Drinking Water (C), Parks (B-), Roads (D-), Solid Waste (B-), Transit (C-), Wastewater (D).

The New York Report Card was created as a public service to citizens and politicians of the state to inform them of the infrastructure needs in their community. By using school report card letter grades, civil engineers have used their expertise to condense complicated data into easy-to-understand analysis.

State level report cards are modeled after the national 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of D+.

 View the full report here.

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 145,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, graded America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure at a D+. The Report Card app for Apple and Android devices includes videos, interactive maps and info-graphics that tell the story behind the grades, as well as key facts for all 50 states.

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