Every four years, America’s civil engineers provide a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s infrastructure in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Card. Using a simple A to F school report card format, the Report Card examines current infrastructure conditions and needs, assigning grades and making recommendations to raise them. The most recent report card gave the infrastructure of the United States a cumulative grade point average of D+.
In 2016, the Cleveland Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) initiated a similar effort focused on Northeast Ohio (NEO), forming the NEO Infrastructure Report Card Committee. For nearly 18 months, its members volunteered their time and expertise to visit public officials, examine various sources of data, and participate in monthly progress meetings. The committee included professional engineers from the private, public and academic sectors. Case Western Reserve University civil engineering students also assisted in the effort. Our findings about each infrastructure category we studied were peer reviewed by experts in the appropriate field and by ASCE.
Northeast Ohio’s Infrastructure has received a cumulative GPA of D+, a composite score of the seven key infrastructure categories evaluated. This report provides context and explains how the committee arrived at this grade.
Our nation’s infrastructure problems are solvable if we have leadership and commit to making good ideas a reality. Raising the grades on our infrastructure will require that we seek and adopt a wide range of solutions.