Professional engineering report gives La. D+ on infrastructure report card

Report card for Louisiana infrastructure (Source: ASCE)
Report card for Louisiana infrastructure (Source: ASCE)

(WAFB) - According to a professional engineering report on Louisiana's infrastructure, 11 vital systems, including roads, bridge, and drinking water, are "poorly maintained, inadequately funded, and not designed to meet tomorrow's demands."

The 2017 report, produced by the Louisiana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), gave the state an overall grade of a D+, which the leader of the team called "embarrassing" during a press conference at the Capitol Wednesday.

"A grade of D+ means the system does not provide the intended service and is at risk of failure," said former DOTD secretary Dr. Kam Movassaghi, who now serves as executive director of the Report Card project.

Approximately 50 volunteer civil engineers spent 18 months analyzing and grading 11 infrastructure areas to create the report, which can be found here. The 11 categories and grades assigned to them in the 2017 report include:

  • Aviation: C
  • Bridges: D+
  • Coastal: D+
  • Dams: C+
  • Drinking water: D-
  • Inland waterways: D-
  • Levees: C
  • Ports: C-
  • Roads: D
  • Solid waste: C+
  • Wastewater: C-

When compared to the 2012 report, the state's grades declined for dams and drinking water. The coastal and inland waterways were new areas of study for the 2017 report. The only category to receive an improved grade from 2012 was levees. All other categories received the same grade they did in 2012.

"We are here because, for the last five years, Louisiana has ignored the signs and failed to take the necessary steps to reverse the course. And, we are here to tell you that some of the remedies are in the hands of those who work in this building," said Dr. Movassaghi during a press conference which took place while the legislature was in session at the Capitol.

Dr. Movassaghi urged lawmakers to pass measures to put more money into public infrastructure projects. The current session features several proposals for things such as increasing funding for transportation and infrastructure. The 20 cents per gallon gas tax, the state's primary funding source for roads and bridges, has not been adjusted since 1990 and is among the lowest in the nation, says the American Petroleum Institute.

Click here for a list of gas taxes in other states.

The report by the ASCE also gave the United States an overall grade of a D+.

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