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Reports US

US stock market daily report (May 15, 2014, Thursday)

May 16, 2014, Friday, 05:17 GMT | 01:17 EST | 09:47 IST | 12:17 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

The American Society of Civil Engineers released their Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, as they do, every 4 years, starting in 1988. The report is based on capacity, condition, funding, future need, maintenance, operation, public safety and resilience - each assigned specific letter grades, just like grades in school.

A = Exceptional: The infrastructure in the system or network is generally in excellent condition, typically new or recently rehabilitated, and meets capacity needs for the future. A few elements show signs of general deterioration that require attention. Facilities meet modern standards for functionality and resilient to withstand most disasters and severe weather events.

B = Good: The infrastructure in the system or network is in good to excellent condition; some elements show signs of general deterioration that require attention. A few elements exhibit significant deficiencies. Safe and reliable with minimal capacity issues and minimal risk.

C = Mediocre: The infrastructure in the system or network is in fair to good condition; it shows general signs of deterioration and requires attention. Some elements exhibit significant deficiencies in conditions and functionality, with increasing vulnerability to risk.

D = Poor: The infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of significant concern with strong risk of failure.

F = Failing: The infrastructure in the system is in unacceptable condition with widespread advanced signs of deterioration. Many of the components of the system exhibit signs of imminent failure.

Summery of categories and grades given in the report:
Aviation = D
Bridges = C+
Dams = D
Drinking Water = D
Energy = D+
Hazardous Waste = D
Inland Waterways = D-
Levees = D-
Ports = C
Public Parks and Recreation = C-
Rail = C+
Roads = D
Schools = D
Solid Waste = B-
Transit = D
Wastewater = D

The Federal Highway Administration reports that nearly $12.8 billion is spent annually on deficient bridges across the USA. Highway Administration estimates we would need to invest $20.5 billion annually, to eliminate the backlog of deficient bridges by the year 2028. There are 66,749 structurally deficient bridges across the country, which makes up one-third of the total bridge decking area in the country. Those bridges classified as structurally deficient are significant in size and length, while bridges that are being repaired are smaller in scale.

The average age of the 607,380 bridges across the USA is 42 years with one in nine or 11% rated as structurally deficient, in 2012. Over the past decade, as states and cities across the country increase their efforts to prioritize bridge repairs and replacements, functionally obsolete or structurally deficient bridges continue to 'slowly' decline.

Pennsylvania tops the list of states with the highest percentage of deficient bridges - combined structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridge categories - with 24.4% of bridges across the state classified as structurally deficient. Iowa and Oklahoma each have just over 21% of their bridges classified as structurally deficient. The District of Columbia tops all 50 states with the highest percentage of deficient bridges - 77% or 185 of 239 bridges in the DC area fall into at least one of these deficient categories.

While the number of bridges closed to traffic due to be structurally deficient has climbed from 2,816 in 2007 to 3,585 in 2012. The number of bridges posted for load restrictions has decreased from 67,969 to 60,971 during the same time period. Posted bridges are not necessarily a public safety risk but, can create congestion and force emergency vehicles and trucks to take lengthy detours when the bridge is closed which makes it more difficult and more costly for goods to get to market. The health of our nation’s bridges is directly tied to the nation’s ability to compete in a global marketplace. There are growing concerns that the bridges in our nation’s metropolitan areas are decaying more rapidly than rural bridges. Approximately 210 million trips are taken daily across deficient bridges in the nation’s 102 largest metropolitan regions.

The challenge remains for federal, state and local governments to increase bridge investments by $8 billion annually to address the identified $76 billion in needs for deficient bridges across the United States. While billions have been spent annually on bridge construction, rehabilitation and repair over the last twenty years, current funding levels are not enough to repair or replace the nation’s large-scale, urban bridges, which carry a high percentage of the nation’s traffic.

The FHWA calculates that over 30% of existing bridges have exceeded their 50-year design life, meaning that maintenance, repai, and rehabilitation programs will still require significant investment in the not so distant future. Preserving aging bridges and replacing deficient bridges is a huge challenge for cash-strapped state and local governments to manage.

Check the deficient bridges in the counties in your state - if you dare: