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[cdn-nucl-l] Report Blasts American Infrastructure
Posted on Yahoo.com by the AP on September 4, 2003 and at:
This is a little surprising (and disconcerting):
"Declining progress for dams, with the number of unsafe dams rising to
nearly 2,600 and 21 dam failures in the past two years"
U.S. Dam Trivia
There are 76,926 dams listed in the national inventory (1998-1999 edition)
Only 2.7% of the dams are owned by the federal government
The most common dam name is Smith Lake Dam
81% of the dams in the inventory are earthen dams
8% of the dams include more than one dam type
1,595 significant hazard dams are within one mile of a downstream city
20 dams in the inventory were completed in the 18th century
The oldest dam in the inventory is Mill pond dam in Newington, CT, built in
3,123 dams were completed in 1960, the greatest number of dams completed in
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers own 569 dams
Texas is the state with the most dams in the inventory - 6,342
Average age for a dam is 40 years
Eight dams are named "Beaver Dam"
Report Blasts American Infrastructure
Thu Sep 4, 2:52 PM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!
By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - America's infrastructure is full of cracks, leaks and holes and
is getting worse, according to an analysis by civil engineers that concludes
the nation's transportation, water and energy systems have shown little
improvement since they were given an overall grade of D-plus in 2001.
A report by the American Society of Civil Engineers released Thursday
assessed trends over the last two years in the condition of 12 categories of
infrastructure, including roadways, bridges, drinking water and energy.
The report blamed the deteriorating infrastructure on a weak economy,
limited federal programs, population growth and the threat of terrorism,
which diverted money to security.
"Americans' concerns about security threats are real, but so are the threats
posed by crumbling infrastructure," Thomas Jackson, ASCE president, said in
a statement. "It doesn't matter if the dam fails because cracks have never
been repaired or if it fails at the hands of a terrorist. The towns below
the dam will still be devastated."
There was no progress for schools, which received the worst grade - D-minus
- from the engineers in 2001. The report said three out of four school
buildings are inadequate. They estimate it will cost more than $127 billion
to build new classrooms and modernize outdated schools.
Energy transmission earned a D-plus two years ago, and the engineers said
the trend is getting worse. Investment in transmission fell by $115 million
annually, to $2 billion a year in 2000 from $5 billion in 1975. Actual
capacity increased by only 7,000 megawatts a year, 30 percent less than
needed to keep up with power demand.
Roads didn't fare much better. "The nation is failing to even maintain the
substandard conditions we currently have," the report said, adding that the
average rush hour grew by more than 18 minutes between 1997 and 2000.
The engineers' report also saw no improvement on bridges, noting that 27.5
percent of U.S. bridges were structurally deficient or obsolete in 2000.
Transportation systems showed signs of decline, despite increased spending
over the past six years. "Efforts to maintain the systems are outpaced by
growth in ridership," the report said.
Dwayne Kalynchuk, president of the American Public Works Association, said
investing in the nation's infrastructure needs to be more of a priority.
"We're all certainly aware of issues, of emergencies, and investing in
emergencies immediately," Kalynchuk said. "But I think here we have an
emergency that is going to catch up to us in the next few years if we don't
deal with it today."
The Bush administration in May proposed spending $247 billion on roads,
bridges and mass transit, 13 percent more than the previous six-year plan.
Rep. Don Young (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has proposed a $375 billion
spending plan, to be paid for by indexing the gasoline tax to inflation.
Young, R-Alaska, said in a statement that the report reinforced his serious
concerns about the state of the U.S. infrastructure.
"If we don't provide adequate investment in transportation and water
infrastructure, we will dearly regret it in the long run," Young said.
The report's other assessments of currents trends included:
_No improvement for aviation, which received a D in 2001. "Little is being
done to capitalize on the low growth period after 9/11 to address the
nation's aviation infrastructure needs."
_Signs of decline for drinking water and wastewater. The nation's 54,000
drinking water systems are aging rapidly and some sewer systems are 100
years old, while federal funding remains flat.
_Declining progress for dams, with the number of unsafe dams rising to
nearly 2,600 and 21 dam failures in the past two years.
On the Net:
The report card: http://www.asce.org/reportcard