A new report on the condition of Iowa’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure finds the state will have to spend billions in the next 20 years just to keep up with needed repairs. Gregory DiLoreto, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, says investing in infrastructure is essential to support healthy, vibrant communities as well as long-term economic growth.
“We grade 16 categories of infrastructure,” DeLoreto says. “That would include roads and bridges, transit and rail, drinking water, waste water, levees, dams, schools, parks and rec and so forth.” He says spending on infrastructure is critical for categories from employment to exports.
DeLoreto says the reverse is also true — without prioritizing infrastructure needs, deteriorating conditions can become a drag on the economy. “There is a direct link between our economic success in this country and our quality of life and our infrastructure,” DeLoreto says.
“By making this investment, we can improve our economic conditions and we can retain and create jobs as well.” He says Iowa’s infrastructure repair needs, when compared to other states, tend to be higher than many other states, even though our population is much lower.
The report finds more than 5,200 Iowa bridges are structurally deficient. “The state reports it has about $10-billion worth of needs in its drinking water and its waste water systems,” DeLoreto says. “About 46% of Iowa roads are in poor or mediocre condition and that costs your motorists about $380 a year in additional repair costs.”
That money could be better used to repair and maintain roads, he says, which would help to reduce congestion and improve conditions. While letter grades were not given for individual states, the report gave the nation’s infrastructure a D-plus, up slightly from a solid D in 2009.