The 2019 Report Card for California’s Infrastructure, released this week, gave the golden state an overall grade of a “C-.” The state has made progress in recent years to close the infrastructure investment gap, but much work remains to prepare the infrastructure to support the state’s economy and preserve Californians quality of life.
In 2017, California lawmakers approved a major transportation package that provides an additional $5.4 billion to roads, bridges, and transit systems throughout the state. This funding has been critical to improving the condition of these systems and addressing challenges, like congestion and the need to retrofit bridges to meet seismic standards.
However, some challenges remain. Much of California’s infrastructure needs significant investments to reverse the decades of underinvestment and help the built systems withstand climate change. Ports, for example, are presently in satisfactory condition, but require approximately $10.7 billion over the next 10 years to protect themselves against the impacts of earthquakes and sea-level rise. Dams and levees are increasingly providing protection against extreme precipitation whiplash, but many of these structures are aging and past their design lives.
In addition to publishing the 2019 Report Card for California’s Infrastructure, ASCE members made recommendations on how to improve the grades:
- Region 9 encourages all levels of government, business, labor, and nonprofits to collaborate to address challenges associated with California’s aging infrastructure.
- Smart plans must be developed to better identify funding needs. These include asset management plans, complete with condition assessments and funding plans.
- While the California legislature took first steps to increase transportation investment in 2017, more must be done, including encouraging localities to raise their own revenue for their infrastructure networks.
- Finally, ASCE’s civil engineers recommend to their fellow citizens that they be informed, be vocal, and learn more about infrastructure needs.
ASCE State Infrastructure Report Cards are modeled after the national Infrastructure Report Card, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of ‘D+’ in 2017. To read the full report and learn more about ASCE California’s solutions to raise the grade, click here.