Infrastructure Requires Attention in the Land of Lincoln


The 2018 Report Card for Illinois’ Infrastructure, released today, gave the state an overall grade of a “C-.” 10 categories of infrastructure were assessed by a group of nearly 30 civil engineers from around the state. Illinois’ overall GPA remained unchanged from the 2014 Report Card for Illinois’ Infrastructure, an indication that the state has skirted responsibility over the past four years for improving the overall health and condition of its bridges, dams, drinking water pipes, roads network, and more. The report further finds that the state is in danger of losing its unique competitive economic advantage being at the crossroads of the country’s rail, air, roadway, and waterway systems, due to chronic underinvestment and decreased prioritization of infrastructure.

The 2018 Report Card for Illinois’ Infrastructure assigned aviation and rail the highest grade of “C+”, while navigable waterways received the lowest grade of “D-”. Bridges and dams both earned “Cs”, drinking water, ports and wastewater each earned a “C-”, and roads and transit both received “Ds.” ASCE’s civil engineers found that in many cases, localities, the state and the federal government have failed to make necessary investments, in many cases due to the absence of sufficient and long-term funding.  The capacity and condition of Illinois’ roads, transit systems, and inland waterways were of concern; those categories of infrastructure were graded the lowest by Illinois’ civil engineers and continue to face grapple with insufficient funding.

In addition to assessing Illinois’ infrastructure, ASCE’s civil engineers also issued a series of recommendations to raise the grade. These included a directive to decision-makers to prioritize infrastructure, consistently pass balanced budgets and develop new revenue sources, pass a capital plan, and capitalize on existing geographic and economic advantages. Additionally, the 2018 Report Card for Illinois’ Infrastructure emphasizes the need to consider emerging technologies and shifting social and economic trends as the state designs for future infrastructure, with clear economic, social, and environmental benefits in mind.

The 2018 Report Card for Illinois’ Infrastructure was created as a public service to citizens and policymakers of the state to inform them of the infrastructure needs in their community. By using school report card letter grades, civil engineers used their expertise to condense complicated data into an easy-to-understand analysis. 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 the grade, click here.


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