Pa.’s infrastructure barely makes the grade


    The American Society of Civil Engineers released its 2014 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s infrastructure today.

    The grades aren’t anything to write home about. Pennsylvania got 7 ‘Ds’, 6 ‘Cs,’ and 3 ‘Bs’. No As.

    The overall grade of C minus is unchanged from the last report in 2010 and slightly above last year’s national average of D plus.

    Jason Bowes is president of the Central PA section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the group that puts out the report card.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    “It’s good to on par or average. It’s certainly better than a failing grade. But it’s still unacceptable and we need to work to bring those grades up,” he said.

    Bowes said the key to improvement is more awareness of deficiencies and more funding—like the transportation funding bill Gov. Gorbett signed into law November of last year.

    “Act 89 is a comprehensive, unprecedented transportation funding bill. More than we’ve done in Pennsylvania in decades. It’s hard to say how far the grade will come up, but we do anticipate that grade improving,” said Bowes.

    Bowes said it’s still too early to see any impact from the bill in this year’s report.

    The best grades—a B and two B minuses—went to freight rail, hazardous waste, and parks and recreation. The worst—D minuses—were given to roads and wastewater treatment. Pennsylvania’s traffic fatalities rating is significantly worse than the national average. And the state has the most combined sewer overflows—and the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges—in the country.

    The American Society of Civil Engineers puts out state and national report cards every four years.  See the full report.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal