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June 17, 2021 12:00 PM, EDT

Washington’s Infrastructure Improves to a C, ASCE Report Card Shows

View inside a Metro station View from inside a Metro station. Transit is one of the eight categories included in the report card. (American Society of Civil Engineers' National Capital Section report)

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The nation’s capital received a C on an infrastructure report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers on June 15.

ASCE’s National Capital Section report for Washington, D.C., evaluated bridges, drinking water, energy, levees, rail, roads, transit and wastewater.

Rail received a B for the highest grade. Levees and transit tied for lowest grade, each earning a D.

ASCE logo

“The capital’s infrastructure systems are getting closer to where we want them to be” said Ranjit Sahai, ASCE’s Washington report card committee chair. “We have seen encouraging trends since the 2016 report was issued when the grade was a C-, but D.C. must continue to explore all solutions to improve the grades if we are to accommodate a growing population and economy in the future.”

According to ASCE, estimates indicate the population will grow from 672,200 in 2015 to 987,200 in 2045. The growth will put a strain on all sectors of infrastructure, especially the surface transportation network.

Bridges received a B- on the report card. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, some 3.3% of Washington’s bridges are classified as structurally deficient.

ASCE DC Report Card 2016 Report 1 by Transport Topics on Scribd

Roads earned a D+. Washington’s network of roads covers 1,150 miles, and many commuters spend time sitting in traffic. According to ASCE, Washington commuters incur an annual cost of $2,015 for time spent sitting in traffic.

The report card includes calls to action to keep the momentum going on Washington’s infrastructure progress. ASCE recommended educating the public on the true cost of infrastructure, noting the public’s willingness to finance new infrastructure through fees is critical.

Additionally, the report card calls for infrastructure investments based on long-term planning and prioritization. The evaluation was issued as negotiations continue on a federal infrastructure package in the nation’s capital.

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