AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS (ASCE)
Tennessee, the “Volunteer State,” the “Country Music Capital of the World,” boasts the official slogan, “Tennessee – America at Its Best.” Already, Tennessee has been named “Best place to move to.” What would it take for Tennessee to be known as the “Home of America’s Best Infrastructure”?
The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2016 Report Card for Tennessee’s Infrastructure grades Tennessee’s infrastructure a “C” – the same grade the state received in 2009. Considerable investments have been made across the state to improve our infrastructure. Funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act initiated numerous projects. The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s (TDOT) Better Bridges Program replaced, repaired, or rehabilitated 193 stateowned structurally deficient bridges. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) received funding to upgrade facilities at two of the state’s premier parks. However, these investments won’t stop our existing infrastructure from aging, nor stop the need for infrastructure to keep up with dramatic population growth.
We rarely consider the impact infrastructure has on our daily lives, from the water we drink and the roads we drive on, to the power we use to light our homes and the food we put on our tables. Volunteers from the Tennessee Section of ASCE developed this Report Card for Tennessee’s Infrastructure to help all Tennesseans understand the state of our infrastructure so we can work together to earn our next “Best of…” award: Tennessee – Home of America’s Best Infrastructure.
How You Can Get Involved
- Share this Report Card with your elected leaders, civic clubs, neighbors, and youth groups at www.infrastructurereportcard.org/tennessee
- Find out the condition of the infrastructure near you on the Save America’s Infrastructure app.
- Ask your elected leaders what they’re doing to make sure your infrastructure is reliable for the future.
5 Steps We Can Take Now
The Report Card provides five recommendations to raise our grades:
- Find sustainable solutions that will help us build a transportation network for the future. Tennessee is at a crossroads of exploding population growth and a transportation system that lacks adequate funding. Our transportation system cannot support the expected growth projected for our state without an adequate funding source and innovative solutions, including mass transit, to effectively move people and relieve traffic congestion.
- Leverage infrastructure investments to help manage impact of expected population growth. Our infrastructure investments must be considered as a holistic system to keep up with demand from population growth. If we want to continue to lead the country we need to begin leading in these areas of infrastructure as well.
- Leverage our state’s central location as a transportation hub. Our central location in the country coupled with the intersection of multiple interstates across the state and inland waterways make Tennessee a natural hub for movement of commerce. FedEx has already embraced our location as a natural location for its main headquarters. We have the opportunity to lead the nation in comprehensive freight management options.
- Raise awareness for the true cost of water. Current water rates do not reflect the true cost of supplying clean, reliable drinking water. Replacing the nation’s antiquated pipes will require significant local investment, including higher water rates.
- Lessen the unknowns about farm pond dams. How do you manage a threat you can’t even quantify? Tennessee needs more data on farm pond dams across the state. We know there are farm pond dams that protect the health and welfare of people downstream, but where are they? How often are the inspected? What maintenance schedule Is being used? Is anyone even doing any maintenance? Without adequate information we can’t fully define the risk to the people of Tennessee.
- Aviation: B-
- Bridges: B
- Dams: D
- Drinking Water: C
- Inland Waterways: C-
- Parks: C
- Roads: C+
- Schools: C-
- Transit: D+
Overall G.P.A.: C
About the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Tennessee Chapter
Founded in 1988, the Tennessee Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents 1,600 civil engineers in Tennessee. As civil engineers dedicated to protecting public health and safety, it’s our job to build and maintain infrastructure. We understand infrastructure’s vital role in our economy, health, and natural environment. With this in mind, ASCE members throughout the state graded each infrastructure category according to 8 key criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.