NEW YORK Poor domestic
infrastructure investment and a general need for repairs have
earned the United States public transportation
infrastructure a D-plus grade from the American Society of
Civil Engineers (ASCE) as steel industry leaders make insistent
calls for a bigger investment in the nations
"Postponing action until more
deterioration has occurred is not an acceptable approach,"
Steel Manufacturers Association president Thomas A. Danjczek
told AMM. "U.S. policymakers need to take meaningful
action to improve our economic well-being by rebuilding our
decaying infrastructure and to ensure the recovery of U.S.
The (ASCE) report is not
surprising, given what we know about the state of our
nations infrastructure," Thomas J. Gibson, president and
chief executive officer of the American Iron and Steel
Institute, said. "AISI has continually advocated for a robust
increase in infrastructure spending to repair our nations
crumbling roads and bridges, improve the economy and put
Americans back to work."
The latest grade was a slight improvement over the D-minus the
ASCE gave the nations infrastructure in 2009, reflecting
an improvement in bridges, which received a C-plus; railways,
which also received a C-plus; and roads, which received a D.
But the report, which is released every four years, said the
improvements had not gone far enough and increased
infrastructure spending is necessary.
"While the modest progress is
encouraging, it is clear that we have a significant backlog of
overdue maintenance across our infrastructure systems, a
pressing need for modernization, and an immense opportunity to
create reliable, long-term funding sources to avoid wiping out
our recent gains," ASCE said in the report, which called for
$3.6 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2020.
The Infrastructure Jobs and
Energy Independence Act, which was introduced in the House of
Representatives last month, would provide funding for roads,
bridges, locks and dams, as well as encourage growth in oil and
natural gas. The AISI has endorsed the bill, calling it a boon
for the steel industry.
Some sources were skeptical,
however, that the government would be capable of mustering the
"There are always bills and
presidential announcements," Ken Simonson, chief economist for
the Associated General Contractors of America, told
AMM. "But the reality is that with the budget that the
Senate is working on this week, I dont see that
increasing the door to federal funding."
traditional source of funding for infrastructure
projectsare becoming insufficient to support U.S.
spending, as higher gas mileage requirements and more
gas-efficient vehicles reduce consumer fuel purchases and
diminish the tax fund pool.
"Congress has been unwilling to
address the gas tax issue," Danjczek said. "The debate over
infrastructure investment largely centers on budgets and
Corinna Petry, Chicago,
contributed to this story.