Pennsylvania's infrastructure is lacking

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Given the close connections between our nation's infrastructure, the country's economic vitality and our overall quality of life as citizens of this great country, the issuance of American Society of Civil Engineers' national infrastructure report card and the grades reflected therein are cause for alarm ("Engineering Group Gives Nation a 'D+' on Infrastructure," March 19). Although ASCE's next Pennsylvania report will not be published until 2014, indications are that the overall condition of Pennsylvania's infrastructure is well short of where we need it to be for job growth and our continued safety. If we don't fix our ailing systems, we will all lose.

Examples from the report card:

Of the 22,669 bridges in Pennsylvania, 5,540 (24.4 percent) are considered structurally deficient, and 4,370 (19.3 percent) are considered functionally obsolete.

Pennsylvania has reported $11.4 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs and $17.9 billion in waste water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Without these investments, our water infrastructure will suffer, hurting our communities and quality of life.

Nationally, if we continue with current investment trends, aging and unreliable infrastructure will cost the average family $28,000 in income by the year 2020.

Gov. Tom Corbett's recently proposed transportation funding legislation is a major step toward addressing many of Pennsylvania's needs and promoting our economic vitality. However, we as citizens must do what we can to ensure the passage of the governor's legislation while seeking out similar measures to address the shortcomings in the 16 categories of Pennsylvania's infrastructure, including water, and sanitary distribution and collection systems. Future generations are counting on us.

The writer is president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Pittsburgh Section.



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