Innovative Financing to Strengthen America

Author(s): J. Francescon, J. Kearns, D. Lambert
The Military Engineering March - April 2017

Introduction

Much of our nation’s infrastructure was built more than a half-century ago and today, is simply worn out. In 2013, the “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure” issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our overall infrastructure a grade of D+, with inland waterways, which includes the economically critical system of locks and dams, receiving a D-.

Most would agree the inland waterway system is vital to America’s global competitiveness. However, the longer that major infrastructure improvements are postponed, the less reliable the system becomes and the more expensive to maintain. A huge boost in public financing could help solve the problem. But the prospect of a healthy waterway infrastructure system has simply not captured the public’s attention and become a fiscal priority.

With one-third of all the nation’s water resource assets in its Civil Works portfolio, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the largest single organization operating and maintaining our
 nation’s water infrastructure. Unfortunately, USACE is faced with ever-greater demands for building, maintaining and operating its projects than available federal funding has been able to support.