Friday, February 15, 2013

America’s Aging Infrastructure

Written by Lane Swensen, Product Marketing, Invensys

Infrastructure is critical to the well being and proper functioning of a society. Whether on a national, regional or local/municipal level, infrastructure provides citizens with critical, life-sustaining services like drinking water, wastewater treatment and electricity. It also enables mobility through efficient transportation networks and makes competitive manufacturing possible through integrated transportation/delivery systems including roads, rail and air.

Lack of infrastructure is one issue receiving attention. We see many rapidly developing economies (RDEs) that are instituting infrastructure projects of many types, some of which are very impressive and large in scale.

In developed economies, while infrastructure has continued to expand with population growth, some existing infrastructure has been in place for decades with little fundamental upgrade. Too often, these systems are well beyond their original design life and are in need of attention.

In President Obama’s State of the Union Address this week, he acknowledged that America had “an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE website) has published the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure a number of times. Though the categories have evolved a bit over the years, America’s cumulative grade has pretty much stayed the same – and not in a good way (Report Card website):

2009 – D
2005 – D
2001 – D+
1998 – D     

…where “D” means Poor, and “F” means Failing.

A new, 2013 report card will be coming out next month and will provide a valuable update. If it’s consistent with prior years, the report will also indicate the massive amount of investment estimated to be needed to bring lower grades up to a “B” or Good status. In the 2009 report, that amount was $2.2 Trillion over the subsequent 5 years.

Last month, ASCE released the report Failure to Act: The Impact of Current Infrastructure Investment on America’s Economic Future (details here). It is thought-provoking and reminds us that failing to act only exacerbates the problems America is facing with its infrastructure. And, because infrastructure is so fundamental to a society, its decline (lack of maintenance) likely means a substantial impact to a national economy, fewer jobs and lower incomes / consumer spending. 

We’ll continue to discuss infrastructure developments around the world on this blog, including across the segments receiving attention. There are many opportunities. 

No comments:

Post a Comment