Indiana’s first grade for its roads and bridges probably won’t make it into a scrapbook.
The Indiana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers released its premier “Report Card for Indiana’s Infrastructure” on Sept. 22, and issued a D+ for the state’s condition on seven critical infrastructure needs. The national grade is a D. Bridges appear to be Indiana’s class star. Those structures earned a C+. Indiana’s airports and roads received a C and C-, respectively.
Each infrastructure category was rated on a seven-component scale by engineers that specialize in that category. Among the focus areas were: condition, capacity, operation and maintenance costs, future funding and public need.
Just over 4,000 of Indiana’s 18,483 bridges are listed as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and Indiana Department of Transportation Engineer Jared Huss said about $3.5 billion is needed to address the problem. The state’s road network has been the beneficiary of the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road. That revenue stream will run out in 2015.
Indiana DOT spokesman Will Wingfield told the Northwest Indiana Times that future funding for roads and bridges depends on what is done at the federal level. Indiana is looking at an estimated $1 billion budget shortfall over the next two years.