The U.S. economy is the largest in the world, topping a GDP of $18.6 trillion in 2016. An economic powerhouse as massive and diversified as the United States depends on a network of highways, bridges, airports, and dams to thrive. And while the economy has grown every year since the recession officially ended in 2009, our nation’s infrastructure is not fairing as well.
An estimated 17% of American dams — 15,500 in total — are categorized as high hazard potential, meaning their failure would almost certainly result in loss of life. Meanwhile, 11.2% of roads are in poor condition, which ultimately lead to vehicle damage and traffic delays. Vehicle repairs, fuel, and wasted time cost motorists an estimated $272 billion in 2014. Perhaps most troubling is the state of disrepair of bridges across the country as tens of thousands are classified as structurally deficient by the federal government.
> Roads in poor condition: 15.0% (13th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 11.1% (14th highest)
> Dams at high hazard risk: 16.9% (22nd lowest)
> Highway spending as pct. of total: 3.7% (4th lowest)
Infrastructure repair is one rare issue that often garners bipartisan support in Washington. While President Donald Trump previously proposed spending $1 trillion on fixing the country’s infrastructure, he recently abandoned his plans to form a Council on Infrastructure.
The estimated cost of repairing roads, bridges, and dams in the United States is projected to top $2.4 trillion by 2025. Other necessary infrastructure repairs, including railways, airports, and wastewater infrastructure would cost an additional $2.2 trillion. 24/7 Wall St. created an index using the share of bridges, roads, and dams that are in a state of disrepair or potentially hazardous, to identify the states with the best and worst infrastructure.