Remember report card day? Sweaty palms. Wondering exactly how it would go. Hoping your teacher liked you enough to show some mercy.
Today, the American Society of Civil Engineers handed out its 2017 infrastructure report card, grading us on how we were doing in 2014. They issue this report card every four years. Let’s just say we’re not living up to our potential.
As the ASCE says “Our nation is at a crossroads. Deteriorating infrastructure is impeding our ability to compete in the thriving global economy, and improvements are necessary to ensure our country is built for the future.”
We all have some homework to do.
The RTA estimates that Chicagoland mass transit requires $37 billion over the next 10 years to achieve a “state of good repair” for our existing network. More than 30% of our assets are beyond their useful life, including rolling stock, stations and guideway. The RTA and the Service Boards have set an annual funding target of between $2-$3 billion per year to address the backlog, maintain the system and undertake limited modernization, enhancement and expansion initiatives.
We must find a way to make this investment. We have to make transit funding a priority. We have to make the grade, and not fail the millions of riders who depend on us each day. Public transportation is part of what makes our region the world class place it is.
Time to sharpen our pencils and fire up our notebooks. Failure is not an option.