Mon., January 13, 2014 12:01am (EST)

Georgia Civil Engineers Say Infrastructure Challenges Remain
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 months ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Georgia roads get a C- according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.  (photo Jimmy Smith)
Georgia roads get a C- according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. (photo Jimmy Smith)
Georgia civil engineers are releasing a report card this morning on the state's infrastructure.

Don Agramonte is with the American Society of Civil Engineers.

His group is giving the state high marks for energy and rail.

But it gets low grades for dams and transit.

"We do have some very positive developments that we can build on," Agramonte says. "But challenges do remain."

The low marks come from cutbacks in spending.

The state's overall grade, C, is unchanged from the last report card four years ago.

"One only needs to look at the Kia manufacturing plant in West Point to see how infrastructure can make a huge impact," said Agramonte, Co-Chairman of the ASCE's Infrastructure Report Card Committee. "Kia moved to Georgia to take advantage of the I-85 corridor. The new plant brought thousands of jobs to Georgia, and resulted in much, new business and auto suppliers moving to Georgia to leverage Kia’s new location."

Among the group's findings:

-- Georgia ranks 49th in the nation in per capita transportation funding.

-- Georgia's Safe Dams Program has faced over a 50% cut in staff since 2003, with each safety official now expected to oversee over 1,000 dams, or five times the national average.

-- Georgia’s state motor fuel excise tax, which funds surface transportation projects, is one of the lowest in the United States.

The ASCE is giving the state high marks for energy, in part, because Georgia is building the nation's first new nuclear power generators in three decades.

It's giving the state low marks for transit because Atlanta's MARTA is the largest transit agency in the country to not receive state funding support for operations.

The full report may be viewed at the ASCE website.