American Society of Civil Engineers Warns: Florida’s Coastal Areas & Stormwater Infrastructure Are In Poor Condition
Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic Cat-5 hurricanes ever, barreling towards Florida with 175mph winds moving West North West at 16mph. The National Hurricane Center is now forecasting Irma will make Florida landfall as a ‘major hurricane’ (wind speed greater than 110mph) on Sunday morning at 8am.
Infrastructure in Florida is the backbone of the economy. The American Society of Civil Engineers released Florida’s 2016 Report Card with a rating of “C”. That means the overall health of the state’s infrastructure is “mediocre”.
Here is the concerning part. Coastal areas and stormwater systems are in very poor condition—under preforming with “D” ratings. With Irma’s potential impact on Sunday this could be cataphatic for flood zones when considering the intensity of the storm.
Coastal area report card D+,
Florida’s economy relies heavily on its 825 miles of sandy beaches, the state’s “invisible” coastal infrastructure that protects Florida’s communities from storm damage. Florida beaches are also significant to the economy as the number of beachgoers yearly is more than double the number of visitors to all U.S. parks combined. Unfortunately, nearly 61% of Florida’s sandy beaches (503.8 miles) are eroding. Beaches and inlets require ongoing maintenance to fight erosion. Developing and applying local and regional beach management strategies has proven essential to decreasing the risk exposure in coastal areas and providing storm damage reduction benefits, such as protection of power plants adjacent to the coast. However, over the last 10 years, the average difference between requested and state appropriated funds exceeded $40 million per year.
Stomwater systems report card D,
Florida’s stormwater systems primarily capture excess rain water and transport it for cleaning or release. About 1 in every 3 localities have established dedicated stormwater programs. These 165 local stormwater systems consist of drainage pipes, stormwater ponds and runoff treatment devices and serve about 116,665 people per system. To maintain the systems, generally two types of user fees are collected – stormwater utility fees and stormwater fees. The current monthly stormwater utility rate averages $5.68, which is slightly less than the cost of a Big Mac meal at McDonalds.® Florida’s capital improvement needs for stormwater management are estimated to be $1.1 billion through 2019, yet utility fees to upkeep the systems have declined since 2011 while needs will double over the decade. More than half of Florida’s stormwater entities revealed an inability to address all capital improvement needs, and only 1 in 4 stormwater utilities stated that today’s operation and maintenance capabilities were adequate only to meet the most urgent needs.
Key Facts About Florida’s Infrastructure:
Earlier this year, Jack Ma made a damning comment to the neocon warmongering elite, who have wasted trillions on overseas wars rather than investing in U.S. infrastructure.
Ma says blaming China for any economic issues in the U.S. is misguided. If America is looking to blame anyone, Ma said, it should blame itself. “It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys,” Ma said. “It’s your strategy. Distribute the money and things in a proper way.” He said the U.S. has wasted over $14 trillion in fighting wars over the past 30 years rather than investing in infrastructure at home.
Conclusion: Let’s hope the National Hurricane Center’s model for Hurricane Irma’s trajectory is as wrong as Dennis Gartman’s stock market forecasting. Otherwise, a direct hit of Florida could be devastating , due to the poor health of infrastructure according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.