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Hawaii infrastructure graded a D+ in new report

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Hawaii’s infrastructure received an overall grade of “D+” for 11 categories reviewed by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Hawaii Section in its inaugural report released today.

Most of the Aloha state’s infrastructure systems are in poor to fair condition. The report card recommends that the state Legislature increase the state gas tax and support “innovative funding mechanisms” to pay for a backlog of repairs.

“The state’s roadways are among the most congested in the nation, and there is a $23 billion transportation infrastructure funding gap over the next 20 years,” the group said in a release.

The report includes an evaluation of the following categories: aviation (C-), bridges (C+), coastal areas (C-), dams (D), drinking water (D+), energy (C-), roads (D+), schools (D+), solid waste (C), stormwater (D-) and wastewater (D+).

Stormwater received the lowest grade.

“The state has experienced an increase in extreme flooding caused by high tides, storm surges, hurricanes, tsunamis and sea level rise,” the report said. “This harmful flooding also causes pollutants, trash and debris to enter Hawaii’s water resources.”

According to a 2018 Environmental Protection Agency assessment, 88 of the 108 marine water bodies did not meet water quality standards.

The review was conducted “in an effort to help Hawaii’s residents and policy makers understand the needs of its infrastructure,” according to the report.

“The majority of Hawaii’s infrastructure has been operating beyond its useful life, and some components of systems are over 100 years old,” the findings said. “Due to a lack of funding, it has been difficult to effectively maintain and improve the existing infrastructure systems to keep up with increasing usage and rapidly changing lifestyles.”

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