NC Infrastructure Report Card: C-

This morning the North Carolina Section of the American Society of Engineers released the first North Carolina Infrastructure Report Card 2006 at simultaneous press conferences in Raleigh and Charlotte.

Airports, Dams and Roads were given grades of D or lower, Bridges, Drinking Water, Schools, Stormwater and Wastewater got C or lower and only Rail scored over C with a B-. While the State's overall grade of C- is better that the national grade of D the study shows that North Carolina's infrastructure can not support its increasing population at current funding levels.

Poor roads cost motorists $1.7 billion per year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.

"Crumbling infrastructure cannot support a healthy economy," said Mr Ron Geiger, PE, chairman of the Report Card committe. "We hope this report will help North Carolina residents, as well as state and local officials and policy makers, recognize how the condition of our state's infrastructure impacts our quality of life, and realize how the deteriorating condition of those systems compromises their ability to support the state's economy and protect the natural environment that makes North Carolina so attractive."

State Representatives Bill Daughtridge (R) and Nelson Cole (D) called for bipartisan support for infrastructure investment because of its importance to economic development while noting that some counties don't have water systems, precluding them from participation in the resulting job and business growth and increased tax base.


Well let's just send this report card to the President

and I'm sure he and Dick Cheney will get right on it. I just bet they have some company up their sleeve who needs a no-bid contract.

Silver Lining Alert: Damn! We score better than the national average on something? Wow...WTG NC!

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clicked on the wrong button

I guess I had nothing to say

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Show me the money

There were few pointers on how to pay for this other than support for bonds in the face of public resistance and dedicated funding such as stormwater user fees (and the Highway Trust Fund), a passing reference to toll roads and a brief mention of alternate taxation such as a mileage based user tax pilot program in Oregon.

Also here's a link to the AP story on WRAL

Give a Dam

There's a post-press conference AP story on this with these snippets:

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Professional engineers painted a dire picture of an inadequate and deteriorating state public works system Monday that would cost tens of billions of dollars to improve and could dampen the state's economic growth.


The report appears to reinforce the need for new revenue sources - taxes, fees or debt - to pay for the needs, even with belt-tightening and innovations elsewhere.


"We have failed to invest in the improvements that are necessary in order to keep pace with our growing population, let alone our increasing demands."


"The alarming lack of public support and understanding of the need for proper maintenance and repair of dams is dangerous and unacceptable," the report said.

According to the report North Carolina has 5,250 dams of which 1,148 are classified as High Hazard. A high hazard dam failure would cause loss of life or significant damage or other major economic impacts downstream. Of the 1,148 High Hazard dams, only 195 have an Emergency Action Plan and none of the dams meet Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety. Of the 5,250 dams statewide, 13 are owned by the Federal government, 29 by the State, 49 by Utilities, 60 by local government 3,128 by Private owners and a staggering 1,973 with unknown owners. Estimate to rehab the most critical deficient structures: $400 million. Annual budget for NC's entire Dam Safety program: $1.2 million

"When you look at economic development, that's where it's not a zero-sum game," said Rep. Bill Daughtridge, R-Nash.

Rep. Nelson Cole, D-Rockingham, a co-chairman of the House transportation appropriations subcommittee, acknowledged that it will be difficult to create fees or taxes in today's sharply political environment.

"The North Carolina citizens have got to come forward and say we want these things, and develop a bipartisan effort of all the legislators to do what's right for North Carolina," Cole said.

Today's political environment has been shaped

by extremist government-haters who despise planning and taxes above all else. The sharp divisions are a function of greed and disregard for the common good. We are not investing because the right wing would rather see infrastructure crumble and collapse than spend money.

These are the people Rob Christensen and Tim Funk rely on for "reports" that get featured in McClatchy rags as though they represent something worth reading.

There's an old saying

in the Northeast...

Everyone hates Big Government until it snows. Then they want to know where the hell the snowplows are and why their government hasn't salted the bridges and cleared their block.

Robin Hayes Hates Puppies

Add Air Quality To The List

Our air quality is in the C to D range, which is okay if you don't mind breathing smog and developing asthma. Have you noticed how many more asthma patients there are are compared to 25 yrs. ago? Our state is in a mess and I see little being done to correct the problems.

And how do you privatize air quality?

Oh, they'll find a way.

They want to privatize roads and municipal water. Pretty soon you'll have to pay to get a bottle of oxygen to keep yourself alive. It's like something from Blade Runner.

Market-based Pollution Solution

We can survive for a while without food and even water in a pinch but we can't survive for long without air.

Vote Air + Water and the world would be an entirely better place.

They used John Locke Foundation as a reference

in the report on 'Roads'. Open it and scroll to the bottom. Even professional engineers are getting suckered into using their "reports". Thus the disparaging comments about the cost of rail-based mass transit.

Good catch

I'll bet JLF will refer back and keep the intellectual incest cycle going.

Fair and Unbalanced

Thanks again for pointing out the JLF footnote. It's very strange because the actual JLF report seems to have little to do with the Report Card on Roads. I have read through both and can't find the connection because the main thrust of the JLF report was that "roads don't influence growth significantly" which seems to be the opposite of what the NC ASCE is trying to say.

The author of the JLF report, David Hartgen is also listed by the NC ASCE on its "Blue Ribbon Panel of Experts"

Leaders in the Engineering Industry were called upon to assist in the review of the Report Card “White Papers” that summarized the data evaluation and assessment efforts and the the development of the grade and recommendations. This independent review aided in preparing an objective and consistent assessment of each infrastructure category.

The entry for David Hartgen lists his association with UNCC but fails to indicate that he is Research Analyst for Transportation for the John Locke Foundation. He is described variously as "Adjunct Scholar" and "Adjunct Research Analyst" for Transportation and is listed on the JLF Staff roster. Hardly independent or objective.

Here's the kicker. The JLF report by Hartgen states:

The study concludes that road projects are blunt and inefficient instruments for either spurring or slowing growth, so local governments should accept responsibility for growth policies.

But the JLF are first in line to oppose impact fees for public infrastructure improvements by local governments. They and the development lobby including homebuilders and realtors have been enomously successful at ensuring that the State Legislature does not give to local goverments the ability to develop revenue streams dedicated to addressing pressing infrastructure needs that the State is unable or unwilling to fund.

Adjunct = couldn't get a real job

Given the Puppetmaster's largesse, it's a wonder he couldn't find more capable Puppets "experts" to shill conduct "research" and write "reports" to bolster the JLF's foregone conclusions about everything.