The Louisiana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers released the 2017 Report Card for Louisiana Infrastructure on April 26. To assign grades, 50 volunteer civil engineers from across the state analyzed 11 categories of infrastructure over 18 months. Scores ranged from a “C+” for Dams and Solid Waste to a “D-” in Drinking Water and Inland Waterways. Bridges and Coastal infrastructure earned “D+s,” Aviation and Levees “Cs,” Ports a “C-,” Roads a “D,” and Wastewater a “C-.” Louisiana’s overall “D+” G.P.A. is indicative of a poorly maintained and inadequately funded system, one which is not designed to meet tomorrow’s demands.
The 2017 Report Card for Louisiana Infrastructure found that since the state’s last Report Card was issued in 2012, little has been done to shore up existing infrastructure or invest in new assets. Authors of the Report Card warned that the state is at a disadvantage and will continue to lose its economic competitiveness, should lawmakers continue to choose inaction over investment. At the Report Card release at the Louisiana state capitol, former Department of Transportation and Development secretary and executive director of the Report Card project Kam Movassaghi urged legislators to increase available funding for the state’s public infrastructure.
In addition to providing a comprehensive analysis of Louisiana’s infrastructure systems, the 2017 report makes recommendations to improve the grades. The authors suggest greater responsibility for maintenance and investment in infrastructure, from all levels of government as well as the private sector. The Report Card also recommends bold and aggressive approaches for infrastructure improvement, and includes a directive to lawmakers to protect infrastructure related “Trust Funds” from being used as a general-purpose financial source. Additionally, the 2017 Report Card for Louisiana’s Infrastructure recommends prioritizing the public health and safety of citizens by improving infrastructure to lower road fatality rates and improve the safety of drinking water systems and coastal Louisiana. Finally, the 2017 Report Card recommends educating the public to better understand and appreciate the importance of a healthy infrastructure system.
ASCE State and Regional Infrastructure Report Cards are modeled after the national Infrastructure Report Card, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of D+ in March 2017.