Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issues a report card that grades infrastructure conditions and needs on a familiar A to F scale. ASCE’s intent is simple: to spur discussion about the problems that a deteriorating infrastructure will pose and the investments needed to rebuild it. Each successive report has added features that make the association’s content more useful and accessible to the public and policymakers. For example, it now includes state-level data with an accompanying narrative, and the report card has moved to a website and an app platform.
While the poor grades awarded to the U.S. infrastructure typically grab the headlines each year, it is the aggregation of data, stories and policy solutions on the website that ensure a long tail of interest and use. These resources make ASCE’s report card the reference tool of record in the infrastructure needs assessment and funding debates. Anyone interested in building an infrastructure argument uses the report card to strengthen their advocacy.
ASCE’s report card is a magnet for partners, especially non-traditional ones like JP Morgan Chase, the National League of Cities and the National Association of Realtors. Over 80 organizations have invited ASCE to speak on the subject of infrastructure funding since the 2017 report card’s launch, and it is rare for a week to go by without the report card being referenced at a congressional committee hearing, on a morning news show, or at a town hall meeting. ASCE is also regularly asked to testify on infrastructure issues.