ASCE President Gregory DiLoreto, P.E. said, "As civil engineers, ASCE believes that we are the stewards of infrastructure -- we designed it, we built it, and we actually oversee the operations and maintenance of it in many cases. So as stewards, we have a responsibility with the Report Card to call attention to the state of the nation's infrastructure. We as Americans need to be proactive in monitoring and taking care of our infrastructure so that it will be here not only for us, but for our children and our grandchildren."
ASCE has produced four previous Report Cards in 1998, 2001, 2005, and 2009 -- as well as the Progress Report for America's Infrastructure, which was released in 2003. These assessments have highlighted the fact that America's critical infrastructure -- principally its roads, bridges, drinking water systems, mass transit systems, schools, and systems for delivering energy -- may soon fail to meet society's needs.
ASCE's immediate past president, Andrew Herrmann, P.E., member of the present Advisory Council that produced the 2013 Report Card said, "Since 1998, ASCE felt an obligation to make a report on the state of infrastructure in the U.S. to show that we are not making the necessary investments to improve it and not even making some of the investments that we need to maintain what we have. We as civil engineering professionals feel that it is our obligation to point out to the White House, Congress, and state and local legislators what is happening to the infrastructure in the U.S."
DiLoreto added, "The reason why we want to make improvements to our infrastructure is not just simply to improve the grade. Investment in our infrastructure will help grow our economy; it will create jobs and improve our quality of life. It means being able to get to work easier without sitting in traffic all day long; and continuing to enjoy safe, clean and reliable drinking water anywhere in the country; and having an electrical transmission grid with fewer or no blackouts."
Individual grades were given in the categories of aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, transit, and wastewater. Final grades were assigned based on capacity to meet future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. ASCE indicated that the methodology with which this Report Card was produced was a very objective piece of work, not a bunch of people using a gut feeling, but real numbers.