pothole.jpgThe Bay Area needs to invest an additional $2.83 billion in infrastructure annually in order to meet residents’ needs and avert further disrepair, according to a report released today by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ San Francisco section.

The 2011 “Report Card for Bay Area Infrastructure” rated categories such as transit, parks and water, and gave the region an overall grade of “C.”

Mike Kincaid, chairman of the report card committee, said at a news conference today that a “B” grade would be considered the minimum acceptable score.

“We are here because we believe we can’t ignore infrastructure any longer,” Kincaid said.

He said the public has come to expect that roads will be drivable, toilets will flush, water will be clean, and streets will not flood. But if officials do not reprioritize infrastructure, these assumptions will not hold true, he said.

“We are aware there are other needs for funds, but if we fail to fund this $2.8 billion now, it will be $14 billion in five years,” Kincaid said.

The report card committee gave the Bay Area the highest marks in aviation, for which it earned a “B.”

Water received a “B-,” transit a “C,” and bridges and wastewater were each given a “C+”. Parks were given a “C-,” while the lowest marks went to roadways, goods movement and urban stormwater, all of which received “D+” grades.

The society of civil engineers, which also evaluates other metropolitan areas in the U.S., released its last infrastructure report card for the Bay Area in 2005, when the overall grade given to the region was a “C-.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee released a statement saying the report “illustrates the dire and deteriorating condition of so much of our infrastructure here in the Bay Area.”

He said the city has adopted a 10-year capital plan that recommends $24.8 billion in improvements to transportation, transit, water, wastewater, streets, open spaces and critical facilities.

The Board of Supervisors has also placed a $248 million Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond measure on the November ballot, and San Francisco is joining the national “America Fast Forward” effort to push for federal funding for infrastructure.

Deteriorating infrastructure is “a crisis that our nation, our state and our region can no longer afford to ignore,” Lee said.

The full report is available online at http://www.asce-sf.org.

Janna Brancolini, Bay City News

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