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2013 Report Card for North Carolina's Infrastructure

North Carolina’s Bridges Receive a C- in New Infrastructure Report Card
State Civil Engineers Find N.C.’s Infrastructure Hurting State’s Ability to Compete

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA — The North Carolina Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the state’s infrastructure an overall C grade in their newest report, titled the 2013 Report Card for North Carolina’s Infrastructure,. According to the report, North Carolina’s infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to risk, with Dams earning the lowest grade of D. The Report Card estimates that North Carolina’s infrastructure investment need by 2018 totals nearly $33 billion.

“In light of the recent bridge collapse in Washington state, Carolinians are asking themselves one question: How does our state stack up?” said Gary R. Taylor, P.E., Chair of the 2013 Report Card for North Carolina’s Infrastructure.  “Regrettably, North Carolina’s infrastructure is not keeping pace with our state’s growing needs—hurting businesses and families along the way.”

The Report Card was created to provide a comprehensive assessment of the state of North Carolina’s infrastructure. The state-wide report examined eleven categories of infrastructure, grading their capacity, resiliency, funding, and reliability. 

“Governor McCrory has repeatedly said his goal is to turn North Carolina’s economy around,” said Eric Rysdon, P.E., M.ASCE, North Carolina Section President.  “Modernizing our infrastructure will create jobs, build a better quality of life, and provide the foundation of North Carolina’s economy for a new generation of Carolina businesses.”

•    Aviation earned a D+, in part due to an estimated $763 million needed to bring all airports in the system to a state of good repair.
•    Beaches and Inlets were awarded a C-. Many shoals and inlets are functioning at significantly less than authorized depths. Continued erosion of federal and state funding has a significant impact N.C.’s beaches and inlets.
•    Bridges earned a C-.  North Carolina’s bridges require $281 million more per year in order to make significant strides in raising the grade of North Carolina bridges.
•    Dams earned the lowest grade of a D. Ten percent of North Carolina’s high hazard dams are deficient and only 34 percent have Emergency Action Plans. One-third of North Carolina’s dams are over 50 years old.
•    Drinking Water earned a C+. North Carolina has over 530 public water systems which serve approximately 7.3 million North Carolinians (75 percent of the state’s population). 
•    Energy was awarded the highest grade in the report of a B+. North Carolina has a solid foundation of energy and energy infrastructure to meet its current and 20-year planning horizon needs.
•    Rail earned a C+, in part due to only 30 percent of the state’s short lines being able to accommodate new, heavier rail cars. It is estimated that freight rail investment needs over the next 25 years will total $545 million.
•    Roads earned a C. The scale of the state maintained highway network, current economic circumstances, and the trend of reducing the state transportation agency’s resources and personnel have been challenges to providing and maintaining a sustainable quality of service.
•    Schools earned a C. Over 58 percent of North Carolina schools will require renovations in the next five years. Additionally, approximately 10 percent of students are in mobile classrooms. The projected cost to meet facility needs for the next five years is approximately $8.2 billion.
•    Stormwater earned a grade of C-. Most of North Carolina’s population lives in communities that have no dedicated source of funding to improve stormwater quality. Statewide sources of funding such as the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund are being reduced and North Carolina’s communities have fewer and fewer options when trying to address their stormwater improvement needs.
•    Wastewater earned a C. North Carolina has documented a need of over $4 billion of additional wastewater infrastructure investment needs through the year 2030. These funds are needed to replace aging facilities, comply with mandated Clean Water Act regulations, and keep pace with economic development.

The 2013 Report Card for North Carolina’s Infrastructure was created in an effort to educate the public and elected officials about the state of North Carolina’s infrastructure. The report uses publicly available information and data. These public documents are then analyzed by a committee of North Carolina engineers to assess the condition, capacity, operations and maintenance, funding, future needs, resilience, and public safety of the state’s infrastructure. 

State level report cards follow the methodology of the national 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of D+. Updated once every four years, this year’s Report Card found that America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure rose slightly from a D in 2009. The rising grades were due to a number of factors, and show that when investments are made, the grades can go up.

For the first time, the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure is available as a digital application that includes videos, state by state data (including infrastructure statistics for Washington), and other multimedia tools. Available for download from iTunes and Google Play, the app is supported across all major platforms and devices. It is also accessible online at

The 2013 Report Card for North Carolina’s Infrastructure full report can be viewed here.