The Florida Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers represents over 14,800 civil engineers. Their report evaluates the state’s aviation, bridges, coastal areas, drinking water, energy, ports, roads, schools, stormwater, transit and wastewater. A main takeaway is that Florida’s continued expansion will call for a wave of improvements.
“Some cities and counties are “stepping up their efforts, but more needs to be done,” the report stated. “Recently Florida’s population has grown at a rate of about 1 percent per year, adding about 1 million people, which is the equivalent of adding a city the size of Jacksonville every 5 years. … Florida is growing, and the State’s infrastructure needs a growth spurt of its own to keep up,” engineers concluded.
On a more positive note, recent investments in bridges and smart technology solutions in Florida’s airports and ports are boosting the Sunshine State’s standing. Seaports specifically have significantly improved.
Bridges got the highest individual grade — a “B” — despite 15 percent of the 12,046 structures in the state’s bridge-management systems being more than than 50 years old. Only 1.7 percent of bridges were deemed “structurally deficient.”
As for the state’s ports, they yielded a “B-” grades. According to the report, Florida has invested $850 million over the past five years in its 15 seaports, including those in Miami and Palm Beach. Additionally, seven of Florida’s ports are now in the Top 50-grossing NAFTA container traffic ports.
“While more capacity and operational improvements are needed, Florida’s overall seaport competitiveness has improved in anticipation of the Panama Canal Expansion, which recently opened,” the report says.
Schools and coastal areas — beaches and inlets — were the worst-performing categories of Florida’s state infrastructure, both earning “D+” grades.
“Success in a 21 st century economy requires serious, sustained leadership on infrastructure investment at all levels of government. Delaying these investments only escalates the cost and risks of an aging infrastructure system, an option that the country, Florida, and families can no longer afford,” said a spokesperson for the American Society of Civil Engineers.