Civil Engineers Give US Ports Infrastructure a 'C' Grade

U.S. ports need upgrades and improvements as terminal infrastructure, connections to roads, rail and water channels have inadequately been updated, according to a recent study by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The study, conducted once every four years, assess the nation’s overall infrastructure with a grade that can range from A to F.  

Port infrastructure is a new category that was assessed in the “2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” which gave ports a grade of C.

The engineers grade eight major categories: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation, maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation. This year’s grade average of all eight categories is a modest improvement, but hardly one to cheer about — it’s a D+ compared to a D in 2009. The nation’s infrastructure GPA has averaged in the D range since 1998 for delayed maintenance and under investment across most categories.

 “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,” the report states.

According to this article from the International Business Times, U.S. ports and their private sector terminal partners plan to spend more than $46 billion over the next five years on port terminal facilities. This equates to over $9 billion per year, of which more than one-third will be spent by the port authorities themselves. The investment will help upgrade harbors, docks, terminals, the modernization of piers, storage facilities, road improvements and security measures. 

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