September 14, 2012
National infrastructure report card not just about grades, says Canadian Construction Association
“I think everybody knew that certain infrastructure assets or categories perhaps are on the brink of being beyond their regular life and that we do have an infrastructure deficit in the country,” said Michael Atkinson, CCA president.
The report card provides an assessment of the condition of four primary asset categories of municipal infrastructure: drinking-water systems, wastewater and stormwater networks, and municipal roads. The current analysis does not break down results by region or population size.
The report card surveyed 123 municipalities, representing from 40.7 to 59.1 per cent of the Canadian population, depending on the infrastructure assets.
With respect to roads, many respondents do not have regular condition-assessment programs: 41.2 per cent reported that they do not have an inspection program for their highways, while the percentage dropped to between 20 to 25 per cent for arterial, collector and local roads.
More than half the roads surveyed fall below the rating of “good” with 32 per cent in “fair” conditioning and 20.6 per cent in “poor” to “very poor” condition.
The estimated replacement cost of the roads in fair to very poor condition is $91.1 billion, nationally.
Atkinson called this first report card a “snapshot” in time and said it will be a great measuring tool to determine how the nation is doing in addressing the infrastructure. It is intended to provide a national look at critical infrastructure across the country on an ongoing basis.
“We’re really trying to establish a national, empirical methodology to provide an objective overview of that state of municipal infrastructure nationally. The idea of the report card is not to make policy recommendations or to suggest financing solutions,” explained Atkinson.
The report card’s advisory committee worked with municipalities to ensure their infrastructure information was reported in a manner useable for the survey.
“By the mere fact of having this report card on an ongoing basis, we believe that it will help to facilitate more mature and effective asset management techniques, plans and systems so that municipalities generally will also become much more efficient and effective in keeping track of their own infrastructure,” said Atkinson.
In terms of wastewater infrastructure, 40.3 per cent of wastewater plants, pumping stations and storage tanks are in “fair” to “very poor” condition, and 30.1 per cent of pipes are in “fair” to “very poor” condition.
The replacement cost for the wastewater infrastructure in “fair” to “very poor” condition is $39 billion.
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