The group publishes these reports every four years. Despite the dire warnings, the new one bore some good news: The C– is a slight improvement on the D or D+ the group had awarded since 1998. A D reflects a system in poor condition, and a C means mediocre condition. A B is awarded to a system that is “adequate for now,” and an A to infrastructure in exceptional shape and ready for the future.
Since the last report card in 2017, grades improved incrementally in a handful of categories. Increased federal funding helped lift aviation, inland waterways and ports, for example. Drinking water and energy infrastructure also improved as utilities used resources better and became more resilient, though that might seem hard to believe after the dayslong blackouts in Texas recently.
Still, only two of 17 categories were graded better than a C: America’s ports earned a B– and rail a B. Transit scored worst, earning a D–. The nation’s dams, roads, levees and storm water systems got a D.
Mr. Smith said he was optimistic that lawmakers and the public would back major investments in infrastructure, especially as a barrage of costly disasters exacerbated by climate change have laid bare the general state of disrepair.
“There’s just every reason to be doing this, and I feel like we’re learning so many lessons,” he said.