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Pa. Infrastructure Grades Suffer Due To Poor Roads, Bridges

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pennsylvania's grades suffered this year on its infrastructure report card with seven Ds from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The ASCE is in charge of maintaining the things that keep our state running, issuing annual grades for bridges, drinking water, schools, transit, waterways and more.  At a press conference Wednesday morning, they announced the results for Pennsylvania's 2014 report card.

One big area where Pennsylvania needs to improve is roads, which received a "D-" or "poor" grade because of congestion, deterioration and delays.

"Roads are the arteries that connect us to our businesses, industries, schools, airports and communities," Ralph Gilbert with the ASCE Pittsburgh section said.  "If the Commonwealth truly wants a modern system, which we believe it does, we must find a holistic, suitable plan to address current problems."

According to the ASCE, Pennsylvania has more than double the amount of tractor-trailer traffic than the average state and 8.8 million drivers travel on our roads every year.  All those vehicles have done some damage to our roads.

Pennsylvania also scored poorly in the quality of our drinking water, inland waterways and storm water management.  We also have the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the country.

"Our grades, including the seven Ds, are unacceptable," Gilbert said. "Pennsylvania's infrastructure has made very little progress over the past four years."

But there was some good news in the report.  The state scored well in the quality of parks and recreation and hazardous waste removal.  The state also scored well in freight rail safety, even with recent accidents and a push for tougher legislation on the railways.

The ASCE says the new transportation bill should help fund some much-needed improvements throughout the state, but that there's still work to be done.

"We need a long term, sustainable plan for the Commonwealth's future," Gilbert said.

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