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Civil engineers deliver a report card on our infrastructure: D

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Daylife/AP Photo by Jim Mone

America’s civil engineers think the nation’s aging and rusty infrastructure is just not making the grade.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has issued an infrastructure report card giving a bleak cumulative ranking of D.

“We’ve been talking about this for many many years,” Patrick Natale, the group’s executive director, told CNN. “We really haven’t had the leadership or will to take action on it. The bottom line is that a failing infrastructure cannot support a thriving economy.”

The ranking — which grades the condition of 15 infrastructure entities such as roads, bridges and dams — is the same as the the last time such a report was issued, in 2005. In 2001, the grade was D+, slightly better but still poor.

The group estimates that the government and the private sector need to invest $2.2 trillion over five years, roughly three times the size of President Obama’s stimulus package.

Natale says there’s been a mentality in the United States of short-term fixes and hoping that they work — “patch and pray,” as he puts it.

“By underinvesting, the price tag escalates,” Natale said.

Wander through the categories. I don’t see anything there I disagree with. It’s all pretty poor. The grades are deserved.

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Written by Ed Campbell

January 29, 2009 at 2:00 am

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