The National Capital Section (NCS) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released the 2021 Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
Click here to download a copy of the 2-page Brochure that summarizes our findings.
Click here to download a copy of the 55-page Report with details about our findings.
JUNE 15, 2021, WASHINGTON, D.C.: The National Capital Section (NCS) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released today the 2021 Report Card for Washington, D.C.'s Infrastructure. The NCS Report Card Committee, consisting of D.C.- area civil engineers, reviewed eight categories of infrastructure, and gave it an overall grade of 'C', which means the District's infrastructure is in mediocre condition.
A: EXCEPTIONAL, B: GOOD, C: MEDIOCRE, D: POOR, F: FAILING.
Each category was evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.
D.C. has implemented innovative strategies to modernize its energy and wastewater infrastructure to ensure reliable service to its residents. However, the city’s levees and transit network are not prepared to meet future needs. The committee graded bridges (B-), drinking water (C+), energy (C+), levees (D), rail (B), roads (D+), transit (D) and wastewater (B-).
“The capital’s infrastructure systems are getting closer to where we want them to be,” said Ranjit Sahai, P.E., ASCE’s D.C. Report Card Committee Chair. “We have seen encouraging trends since the 2016 report was issued when the grade was a ‘C-‘, but D.C. must continue to explore all solutions to improve the grades if we are to accommodate a growing population and economy in the future.”
The Report Card was created as a public service to citizens and policymakers to inform them of the infrastructure needs in their state. Civil engineers used their expertise and school report card-style letter grades to condense complicated data into an easy-to-understand analysis of D.C.’s infrastructure. ASCE State and Regional Infrastructure Report Cards are modeled after the national Infrastructure Report Card, which gave America’s infrastructure an overall grade of ‘C-’ in 2021.
To view the D.C. Infrastructure Report Card and all eight categories, navigate to this link.
Washington, D.C. (January 14, 2016): The unimpeded rays of sunlight penetrating the frigid overnight air at D.C. Water’s First Street Tunnel Project gave clarity to the unfolding scene but not warmth. Many rubbed their hands and most had winter coats on at the gathering of civil engineers for the unveiling of the Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure. However, their conversation was not focused on the weather; the cold wind in the open-air venue did not matter. “My heartiest congratulations to the Section for culminating this vital effort today,” Dr. Efimba from Howard University was overheard saying.
Scott Wolf, President ASCE-NCS (2015-16) welcomed the audience and noted, “We are responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of our core infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, water pipes and levees. With that responsibility comes the obligation to periodically assess the overall state of the infrastructure, report on its condition and performance, and advise on steps to improve it.”
Ranjit Sahai, Chair of the 2016 Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure committee thanked Chris Manalo, Vice-Chair, and each of the more than dozen active technical members of the committee for their role in bringing the 15-month long process for the development of the Report Card to conclusion. In sharing the findings of the Report, Ranjit noted that D.C.'s Infrastructure received a "mediocre" C- grade. It is of only moderate quality; not very good. Because infrastructure has a direct impact on our lives every day—from the quality of water delivered through taps in our homes, to the condition of school buildings our children attend and to the condition and capacity of the roads and rails we travel on, those living or working in, and those governing D.C.'s infrastructure funding policies must invest adequately to safeguard its role that is vital to our economy, security, recreation, and safety.
George Hawkins, CEO and General Manager of DC Water spoke next. The gist of his message was: ASCE's Report Card initiative is independent, fair, and trust-worthy; He is proud of D.C.'s Drinking Water and Waste Water's C+ grades as those have climbed up from the earlier D- and are better than the national averages; The commitment of the DC Water organization is unwavering in its focus on continuing the climb up the infrastructure grading scale.
D.C. Infrastructure Report Card Committee team members Hari Aamidala, Piers Causton, Todd Graham and Kari Kubista were present at the unveiling of the Report Card. Carol Bailey, Veronica Davis, Jason Levinn, Sebastian Guerrero, Ryan Carey, and Robyn Jackson did not make it to the event.
The purpose of the Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure is to inform the public and decision makers of the current condition of D.C.’s infrastructure in the concise and easily accessible format of a school report card. Each of the categories of infrastructure covered in the Report Card is assessed using rigorous grading criteria and recent data to provide a comprehensive assessment of the area’s infrastructure. ASCE has used the following criteria to discuss and grade the state of D.C.’s infrastructure:
ASCE has defined the grading scale for this infrastructure report as:
|A||90-100%||Exceptional: Fit for the future|
|B||80-89%||Good: Adequate for now|
|C||70-79%||Mediocre: Requires attention|
|D||51-69%||Poor: At risk|
|F||50% or Lower||Failing: Unfit for purpose|
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January 20, 2016: This article is the transcript of an interview by a reporter from Georgetown University paper about the Report Card conducted via email with Ranjit Sahai.
The Report Card for D.C.’s Infrastructure is a standardized assessment of D.C.’s infrastructure against eight relevant criteria. Its key value is in its potential to influence a change in public policy so the downward spiraling trend of infrastructure condition can be reversed. The report card, like a dashboard, is an easy to understand tool for documenting and presenting the outcome of an assessment for both the layman and the expert.
The criteria and methodology for determining the grades are documented at this link: http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/a/#p/about-the-report-card/methodology. The data used for the assessments comes from publicly available sources at this link: http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/a/#p/state-facts/sources.
Recommendations provided are based on documented industry best practices for the infrastructure component assessed. The information we used was available public records as reported by infrastructure owners or other reputable organizations.
The message the Report Card delivers to our elected officials is to invest adequately on infrastructure to safeguard its vital role to our economy, security, recreation, and safety.
D.C. Infrastructure owners and their consultants have the technical know-how to improve infrastructure grades. The problem is not that their model is broken. The problem is that policy makers who allocate available resources have relegated infrastructure needs low on their priority scale. This approach has over decades starved the maintenance and evolution needs of infrastructure. When D.C. has managed to secure needed resources, it has come through with significant improvements as is evident by the improvement in grades for Bridges, Waste Water, Drinking Water, and others. George Hawkins, the General Manager and CEO of DC Water said it well when he noted that he is proud of D.C.'s Drinking Water and Waste Water's C+ grades as those have climbed up from the earlier D- and are better than the national averages, and that the commitment of the DC Water organization is unwavering in its focus on continuing the climb up the infrastructure grading scale.