Civil engineers give Georgia lousy scores for infrastructure — roads, transit, bridges, water, etc.

A really interesting piece by Mary Carr Mayle in Sunday’s Savannah Morning News: Report: Georgia’s infrastructure still lacking

The piece talks about the recent “report card” released by the Georgia branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

From the piece:

Category grades included: Bridges (C-), roads (C-), dams (D-), aviation (C+), drinking water (C+), energy (B), parks and recreation (D+), rail (B), ports (C+), schools (C+), storm water (D+), transit (D-), wastewater (C+), and solid waste (C+).

Georgia’s growing population combined with cutbacks in infrastructure funding resulted in many of the low grades. For example:

• Georgia ranks 49th in the nation in per capita transportation funding.

• Georgia’s state motor fuel excise tax, which funds surface transportation projects, is one of the lowest in the United States.

• Georgia is among the lowest in the country in transit spending per resident. Georgia spent just $0.63 per person in 2008, compared to $119.52 per person spent by New Jersey, $40.43 by Illinois and $7.94 by North Carolina in the same year, according to the American Public Transportation Association’s 2010 Survey of State Funding for Public Transportation.

• MARTA — Atlanta’s public transit system — is the largest transit agency in the country that does not receive state funding support for operations.

Closer to home, the group stressed the importance of the Port of Savannah.

Now, I suppose one could say that an organization of engineers would have a bias toward new building and better maintenance of infrastructure.

But some of the data are still sobering, especially when it comes to transportation and transit. One reason I supported the failed T-SPLOST of 2012 was that Georgia is so far down the list in funding for those items — and we’re one of the fastest growing states.

Clearly, the state’s economy has a stake in efficient transit in the Atlanta metro area, but we’ve allowed that region to balkanize when it comes to such a straightforward need.

It will be interesting to see how bad some corridors are allowed to get before the general public feels they need to be addressed. Let’s hope that we don’t have any catastrophic failures that cost lives before we address issues like aging bridges and imperiled drinking water sources.