Texas’ infrastructure has received a lot of attention in the past few weeks following Hurricane Harvey. Today, weeks the cities of Port Aransas and Rockport were destroyed and Houston and South Texas flooded, the Texas section of the ASCE released the Report Card for Texas’ Infrastructure, and the report finds there is work to be done and an opportunity to modernize the state’s infrastructure.
In the seven categories of infrastructure that were evaluated (including aviation, bridges, dams, highways and roads, flood control, drinking water, and waste water) the highest mark received was a “B” for bridges, followed by aviation with a “B-.” The five remaining categories all received grades in the “D” range including Dams, Drinking Water, Flood Control, Highways and Roads, and Wastewater.
These grades indicate that though bridges and aviation infrastructure is adequate for now, the remainder of the infrastructure is in poor condition with a strong risk of failure and all of the current infrastructure needs investment.
One of the most pressing needs is the rapid projected population growth estimating Texas to grow in the next 50 years, from 29.5 million in 2020 to more than 51 million by 2070. This poses major risks and strains on the water utilities of the region, as well as transportation infrastructure. Even now, each commuter in Texas metro regions is paying an extra $890 on average per year due to congested roadways.
Furthermore, there is a lack of a central authority over flood preparation, floodplain management and flood prevention which resulted in the grade of “D” for flood control.
Along with analysis of the issue that is facing Texas infrastructure, the Report Card offers solutions on how best to resolve the immediate and impending issues.
- Infrastructure needs increased, long-term, consistent state and local level investment.
- Leaders from all levels of government, business, labor, and nonprofit organizations must come together to ensure all investments are spent wisely.
- Civil engineers must prepare for the future by utilizing new approaches, materials, and technologies to ensure our state’s infrastructure is more resilient and sustainable.
- When considering land use planning at the local level, the function of existing and new infrastructure must maintain the balance between the built and natural environments now and into the future.