Every year, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases an Infrastructure Report Card, which depicts the condition and performance of the nation’s infrastructure. In 2013, the United States received a D+ grade due to the poor condition of its infrastructure, which includes bridges, highways, tunnels, drinking water and more. The vast majority of systems in place today were built 75-100 years ago, but were designed to last an average of 50-60 years. According to the 2013 report card released by the ASCE, an investment of $3.6 trillion dollars is needed in 2020 in order to make vast improvements to our infrastructure.
The bridge collapse that happened in Cincinnati last week is a tragic reminder of the importance of infrastructure investment and improvement. Even though the bridge was in process of demolition, the incident raises further questions about the overall safety of critical infrastructure. As an insurance company, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is concerned about our nation's critical infrastructure. A significant natural catastrophe can compound losses due to failing infrastructure, which we saw first-hand with Hurricane Sandy.
Pennsylvania is a prime example of a state that is in drastic need of physical improvement. In a 2014 interview which aired on CBS's 60 Minutes, Andy Herrmann, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, stated, “Three hundred bridges become structurally deficient each year in the state of Pennsylvania. That’s one percent added to the already 23 percent they already have. They just can’t fix them fast enough.” Ray LaHood, former US Secretary of Transportation, in an interview with Diane Rehm on “The Diane Rhem Show,” stated that the roads and highways aren’t getting the attention they need. “At one time…we were the leader in infrastructure, we built the interstate system. It’s the best road system in the world…we’re falling way behind other countries, because we have not made the investments.”
Solving this problem is essential to the future of the United States and the rest of the world. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is committed to work with others to create a solution that will not only sustain our cities and countries, but also improve on the systems that we already have. We've proposed a public-private partnership bond initiative, which would help secure funding to the much-needed infrastructure investments.
Follow us on Twitter @SwissRe_CS. Join the conversation about our proposed partnership bond and let us know what your thoughts are on critical infrastructure. You can also connect with me on Twitter @BPetrilli_SRCS or Linkedin to engage on this and other insurance topics.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk, Resilience