ASCE RELEASES 2022 REPORT CARD FOR PA INFRASTRUCTURE
By Derek Danneker, Pennsylvania Legislative Services | November 15, 2022
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced that it gave Pennsylvania’s infrastructure a “C-“ in its grading scale at a press conference Tuesday.
Loujin Daher, president, Central Pennsylvania section, ASCE, emphasized the importance of infrastructure in the daily lives of Pennsylvanians. She noted it has been one year since the passage of Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, which established a much-needed partnership with the federal government. She detailed infrastructure has historically been underfunded. Daher provided background information on her organization.
Michelle Madzelan, senior transportation manager, ELA Group Inc., explained the 2022 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure gave the state a “C-“ in its grading scale. She pointed out the state’s infrastructure is rapidly aging while facing increasingly severe weather events. Madzelan remarked the grade is an improvement over other years, particularly due to statewide efforts to improve infrastructure and political leaders working to highlight the issue. She highlighted several findings of the report and noted that while airports and hazardous waste disposal are strong, the state is struggling to maintain its wastewater, drinking water, stormwater and transit infrastructure. Madzelan added the state’s 3,800 roadway improvement projects have also increased the score. “Unfortunately, bridges have regressed and have not seen the progress that roads have,” she said. Madzelan noted additional information is available in the report.
Madzelan recommended Pennsylvania fund infrastructure systems for flexible schedules and irregular supply chains. She explained the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how people work and they need a transportation system to match. “Roads, bridges and transit systems need to offer a high-quality service, despite the lost revenue,” she said. Madzelan added the state should appropriately implement federal funding and reconsider methods of state and local budgeting to solve large funding gaps. She lastly recommended the state wolve workforce challenges within civil engineer to ensure there is not a lack of skill workers.
Brenda Reigle, former executive director, National utility Contractors Association (NUCA), described the importance of leveraging technology, such as Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE), to help ensure wise investments in infrastructure. “We’re paying too much for the avoidable conflicts caused by a lack of information,” she said. Reigle detailed that civil action is often taken against contractors by facility owners. She pointed out that under current law Pennsylvania utility companies are not liable for the financial consequences of failing to accurately mark their underground lines. Reigle urged more investment in SUE to increase efficiency of excavation and reduce costs.
Brad Mallory, chairman, Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, described how waiting to repair infrastructure can exponentially increase the cost to repair because the failure of that system will likely produce more damage. He called for a generational improvement to the state’s infrastructure that will support children as they grow older.
Daher explained the future of Pennsylvania depends on its ability to maintain and improve the condition of infrastructure. “Pennsylvania has been one of the key players in keeping the supply chain moving and the energy grid working across the northeast,” she said. “With so many eyes on our state, it’s crucial that Pennsylvania set an example for how to support a thriving community.”###
Erik A. Ross
Milliron & Goodman Government Relations, LLC.
200 North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101