Today, civil engineers from across Pennsylvania released a new Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure giving 16 grades for the state's infrastructure. Here's how Pennsylvania's infrastructure ranks from worst grades to best:
Drinking Water D
Inland Waterways D+
Solid Waste C+
Hazardous Waste B-
Parks and Rec B-
Freight Rail B
The Report Card found that Pennsylvania faces immense challenges to maintaining and modernizing infrastructure throughout the state:
- Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the country. Of the Commonwealth’s more than 22,000 bridges, nearly one in four are considered structurally deficient.
- Pennsylvania has the most combined sewer overflows (CSOs) of any state.
- The Commonwealth must invest $28 billion over the next 20 years to repair existing wastewater systems, meet clean water standards and build or expand existing systems to meet increasing demands
- Pennsylvania’s 1.3 traffic fatalities per 100 million miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average (1.1).
The 2014 Pennsylvania Report Card provides three recommendations to move Pennsylvania forward:
- KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM FOR BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE: In 2013, Pennsylvania’s officials showed leadership by passing a transportation package that will start putting the roads, bridges, and transit systems back into working order.
- AFFIRM PUBLIC SAFETY AS GOVERNMENT’S #1 JOB:Whether it’s repairs to bridges, ensuring safe drinking water, or keeping up on dam safety inspections, public safety must always be the first priority as leaders budget and plan for the future. Ensuring infrastructure is resilient and online 99.9% of the time will keep communities safe and the economy thriving.
- STOP WASTING MONEY BY WAITING: Of the 7 infrastructure categories with D grades, all of these deal with transportation and water systems, and much of the repairs and long-term funding are being short-changed. Waiting will only lead to larger issues that will disrupt lives and cost even more when the bill comes due. Pennsylvania must look at the full cost of decisions and then put savings to use.
To raise Pennsylvania’s grades, the Commonwealth’s leaders need to keep up momentum started by the Act-89 for transportation and start working on the state’s other infrastructure issues. Congress also needs to keep the momentum going from the passage of water resources reform and focus on fixing the Highway Trust Fund. Pennsylvania has done their part to fix and fund their transportation network and so should Congress.
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