The 2018 Report Card for Missouri’s Infrastructure was released today and gave the state an overall grade of a “C-.” Eleven categories of infrastructure were assessed by ASCE’s Kansas City Section, with assistance from the St. Louis Section. Of the 11 categories, six were in mediocre condition and five were in poor condition. Aviation, bridges, ports, and rail all received a “C,” the highest grade given in this report card. Dams received the lowest grade of a “D-.” The last Report Card for Missouri’s Infrastructure was released in 2013 and the state earned the same grade of a “C-.” Without investment and improvements in our infrastructure system, the state will start to feel the effects and the state will continue to bring home mediocre and poor grades.
The timing for the release of Missouri’s grades is apt, as the state legislators consider how to fund the state’s transportation network in the final weeks of their session. Although Missouri’s Bridges category earned one of the highest grades in the Report Card, this category falls far behind the national average. Missouri has the seventh largest number of bridges nationwide and 12.5% of these bridges are structurally deficient. This is significantly higher than the 8.9% of structurally deficient bridges nationwide. The grades also bring attention to the Dams category. Missouri has approximately 5,529 dams across the state and 84% of these dams are unregulated. An estimated 1,123 of these unregulated dams have a High Hazard Potential or Significant Hazard Potential rating, meaning poor infrastructure and a threat to safety for many.
Despite the infrastructure challenges that Missouri faces, there is good news: with proper investment and attention, the grades can be raised. In the 2018 Report Card for Missouri’s Infrastructure, ASCE members made four recommendations for how to improve the grades. First, Missouri must increase state-level transportation investment, so the state does not lose out on matching federal funds. Second, the state must develop a systematic approach to preventing future flooding. Third, eliminate regulation exemptions for high-hazard and significant-hazard dams. This recommendation will help raise the grade for the Dams category and will keep residents safe. By eliminating exemptions, Missouri can ensure that dams are in a state of good repair and that they have proper emergency action plans. Finally, ASCE members recommend investment in the freight infrastructure system to prepare for future growth.
ASCE State Infrastructure Report Cards are modeled after the national Infrastructure Report Card, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of ‘D+’ in 2017. To read the full report and learn more about ASCE’s solutions to raise Missouri’s grade, click here.