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Tampa Bay infrastructure rated before RNC

4:12 PM, Aug 22, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida - A day after Mayor Bob Buckhorn acknowledged the GOP Convention could expose his city's transportation "weaknesses," a group of civil engineers rated the region's infrastructure "slightly above" the national average, but far from excellent.

The 2012 report, the first ever for Tampa Bay, was produced and sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Florida West Coast Branch.  The group's national representation has been critical of the nation's aging infrastructure. 

Tampa Bay Infrastructure Report Card

Bridges

B-

Schools

D-

Aviation

C-

Water

C+

Roads/Transit

C-

Stormwater

D

Ports/Freights

B+

Coastal Systems

A-
Source: American Society of Civil Engineers Florida West Coast Branch, 2012

Tampa Bay's report card included good marks for Coastal Systems (A-), Ports & Freights (B+), and Bridges (B-), but poor marks for Schools (D-), Stormwater (D), Aviation (C-), and Roads/Transit (C-).

The region's "C" overall average is better than the nation's most recent "D" average.

A big concern in the report is money, from decreasing funding to maintain bridges, to being able to afford future construction at airports, schools, and in managing stormwater.

"Some of the bridges need maintenance, and maintenance needs funding," says Elie Araj, who headed the Report Card Committee. "We still have room to improve on what we've done, and to help move forward with funding to make that happen."

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman calls the report a good analysis that she hopes will help county transportation planners.

"It actually made me feel good, like our citizens are safe, though I think we need to make [bridges] more pedestrian friendly or bike rider friendly," she says.

U.S. Infrastructure Report Card

Aviation

D

Bridges

C

Dams

D

Drinking Water

D-

Energy

D+

Hazardous Waste

D

Inland Waterways

D-

Levees

D-

Public Parks & Rec

C-

Rail

C-

Roads

D-

Schools

D

Solid Waste

C+

Transit

D

Wastewater

D-
Source: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009
"The systematic report uses letter grades to condense technical analysis into easy-to-understand language," according to an ASCE press release.  "A local group of civil engineering experts representing each infrastructure area spent nearly a year analyzing various inspection statistics, budget figures, and technical documents to create the report card."

The ASCE's most recent national report card was less optimistic than Tampa's, issuing low marks in every category except Bridges and Solid Waste.

The ASCE says its national report will be updated in early 2013.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.

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