During the 2016 presidential election, the topic of national infrastructure found its way into the spotlight. President Donald Trump addressed infrastructure in both his campaign and inaugural speech.
Trump said that he has plans to transform American’s infrastructure.
Trump made a commitment, and has since reinforced that commitment to pursue an “America’s Infrastructure First” policy that supports investments in a number of critical areas, including transportation systems. He also pledged to create new jobs in construction and steel manufacturing.
In its most recent report on the condition of the nation’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reported that, “Forty-two percent of America’s major urban highways remain congested, costing the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually.”
The ASCE report said the Federal Highway Administration estimated that an investment of $170 billion annually would be necessary to improve the current conditions.
The report gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of a D. ASCE reported that 32 percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre conditions, earning them a grade of a D+.
The Utah section of the ASCE gave the Beehive state a B+ grade for the condition of the roads and bridges.
“Roughly 83 percent of Utah’s interstates are in good condition, with only 1 percent being in poor condition,” ASCE reported.
While roads in Utah received a grade of B+, the Utah section of ASCE reported that there will be a shortfall of $15 to $20 billion to meet highway construction and maintenance needs in the state through the year 2040.
The Utah section of the ASCE said the expectation is that $49 billion will be needed to maintain roads and bridges.
Utah’s Unified Transportation plan, published by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the Utah Transit Authority and the Cache, Dixie, Mountainland and Wasatch Front Metropolitan Planning Organizations, supported this statement.
“More than half of the bridges in Utah were built between 1970 and 2010 and roughly one quarter have been built since 1990,” the report stated.
Approximately one-third of the bridges will be reaching a design life-limit of 50 years by the year 2020, ASCE reports.
In Washington, the Trump administration is facing a number of infrastructure challenges, which will have to be met to improve the nation’s transportation and infrastructure systems, including the more than 60,000 bridges across the country that the ASCE referred to as “structurally deficient.”
John Gleason, a public information officer for UDOT said, “… (we are) in an extremely fortunate situation. The state bridge inventory of approximately 1900 bridges has only 18 bridges classified as structurally deficient, which is less than one percent of the inventory.”
Gleason said that funding for the Utah bridge program was approximately $26 million in 2016 and is scheduled to grow to approximately $50 million by the year 2019.