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New York State Receives Low Grades for Infrastructure

By Staff

 

IRC-NY_LogoIn the inaugural 2015 Report Card for New York’s Infrastructure, New York state received an overall grade of C- from the New York Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Assessing nine categories, the report found the state’s roads and bridges to be among the categories most in need of repair, which received grades of D- and D+, respectively, because of their state of deterioration, and lack of adequate funding to improve the conditions, ASCE officials stated.

In addition, wastewater received a grade of D. The category of parks and solid waste both earned the highest grade, B-.

The report card also highlighted the following challenges facing the state’s infrastructure, which, in its current condition, is a drag on the state’s economy, according to ASCE:

  • The three airports servicing New York City account for a majority of the nation’s airport delays. By the year 2030, JFK is expected to exceed its current traveler capacity by 30 percent, and ten other commercial service airports in New York will also exceed 60 percent of their current capacities.
  • Of New York’s more than 17,000 bridges, the majority were built in the 20th century, with over 50 percent of bridges over 75 years old. Nationally, the average age of a bridge is 42 years.
  • The average New York City area commuter, which accounts for half the state’s population, wastes 53 hours per year sitting in traffic.
  • Poor road conditions, and traffic congestion, cost motorists a total of $6.3 billion statewide, an average of $477 per Syracuse motorists.
  • The state of New York is only spending 20 percent of what is needed to modernize the wastewater system.
  • One in every four of New York’s wastewater facilities is operating beyond its 30-year useful life expectancy.

“As one of the oldest cities in the country, New York has aging infrastructure that serves a constantly growing population. We are home to iconic infrastructure such as the Brooklyn Bridge, but the entire network of infrastructure matters, not just the recognizable landmarks,” Bud Griffis, P.E., Ph.D., and New York Report Card Committee Chair, stated. “The report card shows that our infrastructure is only as good as the weakest links, and that we have a lot of areas that need improvement.”

The report also recommends the following, in order for the state to raise its infrastructure grades:

  • Create a prioritization program to assess the state’s transportation infrastructure needs, starting from existing bridge asset management programs, and based on accepted standards.
  • Develop more consistent sources of funding for dams, and support the creation of dam rehabilitation funding legislation at the federal and state levels for public and private owners of high-hazard and intermediate-hazard dams.
  • As infrastructure is being rebuilt, make it more resilient and sustainable.

“A solid, sustainable, twenty first infrastructure is the level playing field we need to spur economic growth in cities across our state and country,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner. “From water mains, to roads and bridges, to the next generation of broadband technology, these are the critical components needed to keep our communities growing in the right direction. I urge the State of New York to increase its investment in municipal infrastructure to help our cities thrive.”

A team of professional engineers from across New York assessed the nine categories of infrastructure to reach the cumulative grade of C-. The categories included Aviation (C), Bridges (D+), Dams (C-), Drinking Water (C), Parks (B-), Roads (D-), Solid Waste (B-), Transit (C-), Wastewater (D).

According to ASCE officials, the New York Report Card was created as a public service to citizens and politicians of the state to inform them of the infrastructure needs in their community.

State level report cards are modeled after the national 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of D+.

Visit http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/newyork to view the full report.