“ASCE’s New Report Card bumps the nation’s infrastructure grade”. This was the headline of a long-awaited press release from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which every four years (hence ‘long awaited’) delivers a grading on the current state of US infrastructure. It was the first time that the organisation had given an improved grading since it issued its debut Report Card in 1998.
So presumably champagne corks were popping from East Coast to West as the US’ much-maligned infrastructure demonstrated to a respected industry body that it had finally raised its game? Well….no. The thing is, technically the grading improved. But when you move up from a “D” to a “D+”, as US infrastructure has done, it’s hard to get too excited.
And, even if anyone was tempted to get excited, a press release from ASCE included a sober assessment of future prospects. It stated that, while $3.6 trillion needs to be spent on US infrastructure by 2020, only $2 trillion is projected to be spent – leaving a hefty $1.6 trillion shortfall. Now, we don't want to sound like glass-half-empty types here at Infrastructure Investor and we're pleased that progress has been made. But it doesn't look to us as if an “A” is likely anytime soon.