A new report card gives Florida infrastructure a ‘C’
The report warns of serious risk from aging dams and levees, many of which are more than 50 years old.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives Florida high marks for the condition of its ports and bridges, but the report card warns of risks from aging levees and dams. The ASCE report card looks at 14 types of infrastructure. Florida earned a B-plus, its highest grade, for solid waste management. The authors noted that recycling in the state is higher than the national average. The state’s energy grid earns a C-minus, but ASCE commended TECO, FPL, and other utilities for making efforts to move utility lines underground. Bridges and ports both earned Bs. Dams earned the lowest grade, D-minus (levees fared slightly better with a D-plus). The report warns of serious risk from aging dams and levees, many of which are more than 50 years old. “Florida has nearly 1,000 dams, 98 of which are high-hazard potential, meaning if the dam failed, loss of life or significant economic damage would occur,” said Tzufit Boyle, president of ASCE’s Florida chapter. ASCE says the state and water management districts need to do a better job collecting data on dams and levees, and develop a comprehensive plan to fix them. The group also urged Congress to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It includes $13 billion for Florida projects. State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) said federal money will help, but he wants more flexibility in how those dollars are spent. “Largely, as the federal dollars come down, my preference would be they come down as block grants. But unfortunately, we’re going to be told what to do with those funds,” he said.