CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the United States a D-plus grade on Tuesday, after reviewing 16 different types of infrastructure activities across the nation over the last four years.
Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, renewed his requests to Congress to make the investments needed to address a growing backlog of highway, bridge, water and transit problems facing states across the nation.
"While our infrastructure grades have remained stagnant, the consequences of our underinvestment have only been magnified," Rahall said in a news release.
"As this report reveals, we are spending even more time sitting in endless traffic, our communities are losing money to patch older infrastructure we should be replacing, and worst of all, our failure to invest in our infrastructure is costing us jobs at a time when millions of Americans are desperately seeking employment."
In 1998, the ASCE began conducting and publishing an extensive study of the nation's infrastructure every four years.
This year's report found that 42 percent of America's highways are congested, costing the economy more than $100 billion in wasted time and fuel every year. Congestion at U.S. airports costs almost $22 billion.
While U.S. bridges were one of the best ranked infrastructure categories, earning a C-plus grade, one of every nine bridges in the country was structurally deficient.
"It is high time that we move beyond just rhetoric when it comes to the state of our infrastructure and recognize that it is about the money," said Rahall.
The ASCE's new 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure reported major problems with West Virginia's aging bridges:
* 952 bridges -- 13.4 percent of the state's 7,093 bridges -- are "structurally deficient."
* 1,595 bridges -- an additional 22.5 percent of all the state's bridges -- are "functionally obsolete."
* West Virginia has 380 "high hazard dams" on its waterways. But the state employs just six full-time workers to monitor them, an average of 60.5 dams for each employee.
The new ASCE study also stated:
* West Virginia is facing $1 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.