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American Society of Civil Engineers Gives U.S. a D+ in Infrastructure

March 10, 2017 (EIRNS)—Although the Trump Administration promises to spend $1 trillion to improve U.S. infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers, (ASCE), in its quadrennial Report issued today, says it will take almost $4.6 trillion over the next eight years to even bring American infrastructure systems up to an acceptable standard.

Considering that new infrastructure platforms must also be built, such as a national high-speed rail network, this brings into focus the overall estimate of $8 trillion in needed investments over a decade, made in January by China Investment Corporation president Deng Xuedong—who proposed that his fund invest its Treasury holdings in the U.S. project.

The ASCE has given the United States a grade of D+ on its Infrastructure Report Card in 2017—the same grade the U.S. received in 2013, the last ASCE four-year report issued.

This Report starkly demonstrates that the U.S. must move into a new infrastructure paradigm: join China’s One Belt, One Road world infrastructure program; consider Japan’s offers to build high-speed rail lines in America, and most importantly, adopt the Four Laws of American stateman Lyndon LaRouche to finance and build modern infrastructure, with science driver input, on the principle of Alexander Hamilton’s National Bank.

In a realistic move on the need for financing, beyond the tired, ripoff "public private partnerships" flotsam, ASCE itself focuses on a 25 cents/gallon increase in the Federal gas tax as the infrastructure funding mechanism, as well as indexing the gas tax to inflation.

Political leaders at all levels say that while private investors might put money into select projects in urban areas from which they expect a return, they would avoid investments in rural areas, and would rather build new, limited infrastructure than replace entire deteriorated systems, Ashley Halsey III reported in today’s Washington Post. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy told the paper, "I think the federal government has to play a larger role."

In the past 14 years, most of the infrastructure categories ASCE has evaluated received a "D," and hardly any have moved more than a fraction of a grade. Here are some of the Post’s summary of categories and grades, with the report’s commentary on the areas: "Bridges: (C+) Four in 10 U.S.’s 614,387 bridges are more than 50 years old and near the end of their designed life span. Nearly 59,000 are structurally deficient.

"Drinking water: (D). there are 240,000 water main breaks each year, wasting 2 trillion gallons of water.

"Electricity: (D+) Most electrical transmission lines were built in the 1950s and 1960s, with a 50-year life expectancy, and they are running at maximum capacity everywhere except Alaska and Hawaii.

"Railroads: (B) The private (emphasis added—think Warren Buffett) transporting his ethanol—EIR) freight railroads that own most U.S. rail track invested $27.1 billion to upgrade their systems.

"Transit systems: (D–) Though they carried 10.5 billion trips in 2015, chronic underfunding and aging infrastructure have led to a $90 billion repair bill."