Page 18: of Marine News Magazine (September 2017)

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The American Society of Civil Engineers:

Not Just a Tough Grader.

By James A. Kearns

Within the U.S. inland waterways the inland waterways infrastructure a grade of D–. The low industry, any mention of the Ameri- grade given to the inland waterways infrastructure in the can Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) ASCE Report Card is based primarily on the aging and will almost certainly be in reference to unreliable system of locks and dams on the inland water- the “Infrastructure Report Card” that ways and on the need for increased and more consistent

ASCE prepares and issues every four funding to rehabilitate existing locks and dams and to con- years, describing the condition and per- struct new and larger locks to handle modern tow sizes. formance of America’s infrastructure in The low grade in the ASCE Report Card, and the factors 16 categories: aviation, bridges, dams, on which it is based, is frequently cited in testimony be-

Kearns drinking water, energy, hazardous fore Congress, on editorial pages, in the trade press, and in waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, presentations by industry members to anyone who will lis- public parks, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, transit, and ten, as evidence of the urgent need for more attention and waste water. It is a major effort, with many ASCE mem- funding to be given to the inland waterways infrastructure.

bers investing a great deal of time and hard work in collect-

ORE THAN RADES ing and analyzing data and then putting it all together in a M G : format that is both informative and easily understandable. But ASCE is a society of engineers, and engineers are not

The end results are presented in the form of letter grades as content to simply point out a problem and then wait for on a familiar school report card. others to do something about it. Their DNA requires that, when faced with a problem, they will attempt to solve it.


I R C While the gloomy conclusions of the ASCE Report Card

It has typically not been a pretty picture, and this year’s are well known, what is not nearly so well known is what

Report Card was no exception. Most infrastructure catego- ASCE is doing to address the problems. With regard to ries in this year’s Report Card received grades of D or D+. the nation’s waterways, in 2000 ASCE created the Coasts,

A few categories received grades of C+. The nation’s rail in- Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute (COPRI). As stated on frastructure was at the head of the class with a grade of B. its website, COPRI serves both its membership and society

ASCE is not at much risk of being accused of grade in

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