US infrastructure needs $6 trillion in fixes, say engineers


A volunteer directs traffic during a mass vaccination event for Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, US on March 6, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The United States' infrastructure has been given an overall C-minus grade in 2021 by the American Society of Engineers, the first time the nation's infrastructure is out of the "D'' range in 20 years.

The Reston, Virginia-based organization analyzes 17 individual categories ranging from bridges, roadways, public transit, parks and ports, and releases a grade every four years. Grades this year range from a B, good, in rail to a D-minus, poor, with condition and capacity at "strong risk of failure", in transit.

The C grade range represents a "mediocre" rating. Grades in five categories — aviation, drinking water, energy, inland waterways and ports — improved. Just one category, bridges, declined. Transit scored the lowest, with an unchanged grade of D-minus.

The ASCE analysis released on March 3 estimates that the total infrastructure investment gap has swelled to $2.59 trillion over 10 years, and nearly $6 trillion is needed to repair America's infrastructure.

If the US doesn't pay its overdue infrastructure bill, ASCE said that by 2039, the economy will lose $10 trillion in growth, and exports will decline by $2.4 trillion. In addition, each American household will bear $3,300 in hidden costs per year.

The society represents civil engineers around the world and has released a scorecard every four years since 1998. Groups such as the engineers society have a clear interest in triggering as much public spending as possible to benefit their members.

Despite the upgrade, society Executive Director Tom Smith contends this year's ranking still misses the mark. "While that is an incremental, small improvement, it still is not something to write home about. It's certainly not a grade that you'd be proud of," he told CNN.

Representative Peter DeFazio, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called the latest infrastructure grades "not acceptable". The Oregon Democrat said in a statement that "the states can't go it alone. The cities can't go it alone. They need a federal partner."

Business groups and many Republicans have expressed a willingness to work with the Biden administration to pass $1 trillion or more in infrastructure spending. But they have made clear to the administration that raising taxes could scuttle any chance of a consensus deal.

Globally, China spent more on infrastructure in 2018 than any other country in the world as a percentage of GDP, at 5.57 percent, according to a December 2020 report on statista.com.

"China's average infrastructure spending in 2018 was 10 times higher than that of the United States. Indeed, China's investments were significantly higher than anywhere else in the world. By comparison, investments in Central & Eastern Europe — the CEE region — were relatively higher than those in their Western European counterparts", research expert Raynor de Best wrote in the report.

During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that would focus on job creation and climate progress. Since becoming president, Biden has prioritized passing an infrastructure bill this year after passage of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

On March 4, Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House to discuss infrastructure.

After the meeting, Republican Representative Sam Graves of Missouri, the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said a highway bill can't grow into a multitrillion-dollar catch-all bill, or it will lose Republican support. "We have to be responsible, and a bill whose cost is not offset will lose Republican support,'' he said.

2021年3月6日,在美国新罕布什尔州劳登的新罕布什尔州汽车高速公路上,一名志愿者在为强生冠状病毒(新冠肺炎)疫苗进行大规模疫苗接种活动期间指挥交通。[图片/机构]

美国工程师协会(American Society of Engineers)在2021年给了美国基础设施一个总体的C-负等级,这是20年来美国基础设施首次超出“D”范围。


总部位于弗吉尼亚州莱斯顿的组织分析了17个单独的类别,从桥梁、道路、公共交通、公园和港口,并每四年发布一个等级。今年的成绩从铁路的B级(好)到D级(差)不等,在运输过程中,条件和能力都有“很大的故障风险”。


C级范围代表“一般”评级。五个类别——航空、饮用水、能源、内河航道和港口——的成绩有所提高。只有一个类别,桥梁,衰落了。Transit得分最低,D-减分不变。


3月3日发布的ASCE分析估计,10年来,基础设施投资的总缺口已扩大到2.59万亿美元,修复美国的基础设施需要近6万亿美元。


ASCE表示,如果美国不支付逾期的基础设施费用,到2039年,经济将失去10万亿美元的增长,出口将减少2.4万亿美元。此外,每个美国家庭每年将承担3300美元的隐性成本。


该协会代表世界各地的土木工程师,自1998年以来,每四年发布一次记分卡。工程师协会等团体显然有兴趣引发尽可能多的公共支出,以惠及其成员。


尽管排名有所提升,但学会执行理事汤姆·史密斯认为,今年的排名仍然没有达到预期。“虽然这是一个渐进的小进步,但它仍然不是一个值得写回家的东西。这当然不是你会感到骄傲的成绩,”他告诉CNN。


众议院交通和基础设施委员会主席彼得·德法齐奥(Peter DeFazio)表示,最新的基础设施等级“不可接受”。俄勒冈州民主党人在一份声明中说,“各州不能单独行动。城市不能单干。他们需要一个联邦伙伴。”


商业团体和许多共和党人表示愿意与拜登政府合作,通过1万亿美元或更多的基础设施支出。但他们向政府明确表示,增税可能会破坏达成共识协议的任何机会。


根据2020年12月的一份关于statista.com的报告,从全球来看,2018年中国在基础设施上的支出占国内生产总值的比例比世界上任何其他国家都高,为5.57%。


“中国2018年的平均基础设施支出是美国的10倍。事实上,中国的投资远远高于世界上任何其他地方。研究专家雷诺·德·贝斯特在报告中写道:“相比之下,中东欧地区的投资相对高于西欧地区。”。


在总统竞选期间,乔·拜登提出了一项2万亿美元的基础设施计划,该计划将侧重于创造就业机会和气候进步。自从成为总统以来,拜登优先考虑在今年通过1.9万亿美元的冠状病毒缓解法案后通过一项基础设施法案。


3月4日,拜登、副总统贺锦丽和交通部长皮特·布蒂吉格在白宫会见了一个两党参议员小组,讨论基础设施问题。


会后,众议院交通和基础设施委员会的高级成员、密苏里州共和党众议员萨姆·格雷夫斯(Sam Graves)表示,一项高速公路法案不能发展成为一项数万亿美元的总括法案,否则它将失去共和党的支持。“我们必须负责任,一项成本无法抵消的法案将失去共和党的支持,”他说。


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