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Latest ASCE San Francisco Bay Area Report Card Gives the Region a C Grade

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Six years ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ San Francisco Bay Area’s Infrastructure Report Card gave the region an overall grade of “C-.” The newest report card gave it a straight “C,” but “improvement” might not be a proper description.

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According to the ASCE San Francisco section committee’s reevaluation of the various infrastructure categories in 2011, several categories scored a “D+” grade. The committee says that bringing all the categories up to a “B” grade would cost in the neighborhood of $2.83 billion annually, up from the annual investment need forecasted in 2005 by $1.8 billion dollars. The need has nearly tripled in six years. 

The report card aims to bring awareness to, and quantifying the need for, funding to upgrade the area’s essential infrastructure to acceptable levels, according to the ASCE committee.

The region graded has a population of 7 million and consists of 101 cities in the nine counties that touch San Francisco Bay. The Association of Bay Area Governments says that an estimated additional 1.7 million people will live in the region by 2030, resulting in the addition of 600,000 new homes.

Winzler & Kelly's Michael D. Kincaid led the unveiling of the report card last week. Kincaid oversaw the efforts of 14 Bay Area civil engineers who contributed their time to collecting data, assessing infrastructure plans and developing ranking systems and investment needs.

The ASCE report card includes:

  • Roadways (“D+”). With an estimated value of $45 billion, roadways are one of the region’s most expensive assets, says the ASCE. However, local roads and highways rank in the top 10 worst locations in the U.S. for pavement condition. Annual investment needed: $1 billion.
  • Bridges and Structures (“C+”). The overall grade reflects investments in seismic upgrades, concerns about capacity and normal replacement that require additional investments. Annual investment needed: $500 million.
  • Transit (“C”). The shortfalls in projected funding will translate into fewer improvements to services as the population grows. Annual investment needed: $1 billion.
  • Aviation (“B”). The grade reflects a significant increase in funding over the last five years. Annual investment needed: $0.
  • Goods Movement (“D+”). This grade for freight and cargo movement systems reflects the current capacity, forecasted capacity needs and capability of goods movement access. Annual investment needed: $75 million.
  • Parks (“C-”). Existing parks and open spaces will be negatively impacted without increased investments. Annual investment needed: $50 million.
  • Urban Stormwater and Flood Control (“D+”). While these systems typically have capacity to carry runoff, they do not have the capability to meet increasingly stringent water quality standards. Annual investment needed: $100 million.
  • Water (“B-”). Investments are needed to increase sustainability and to insure water supply and infrastructure reliability into the future. Annual investment needed: $20 million.

Wastewater (“C+”). Significant investments are still needed to meet the area’s demands. Annual investment needed: $20 million.

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