Building Better

ASCE has assessed Rhode Island’s overall grade to be a C-.

Good infrastructure is among the key elements that contributes to a high quality of life. From our roads, bridges, ports, and rail, which impact our ability to move people and cargo; to our drinking water and wastewater, which impact the health of our residents and businesses’ to our energy sources, which power our daily lives - Rhode Island’s infrastructure is essential to supporting the needs of those who call it home or are welcomed to its shores. While many Rhode Islanders might not think about infrastructure every day, Rhode Island’s civil engineer’s do! We work hard to build and maintain our infrastructure systems for the public’s health, safety, and welfare.

As a state with a significant coast line, Rhode Island must adquately invest in its critical infrastructure, such as wastewater facilities, drinking water systems, and port structures, to ensure they can protect the natural environmental and withstand sea level rise and impacts from extreme weather events. In additiona, Rhode Island has been challenged by under investment in roads and bridges, leading to structural deficiencies.

Build Better

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.

Big and bold action from Washington, as well as continued prioritization by states and localities, is needed to bring all our infrastructure to a state of good repair. This is good news and an indication we’re headed in the right direction, but a lot of work remains.


Solutions to Raise the grade

  • Improve multi-modal freight and landslide connections to ports to strengthen the entire freight system and reduce congestion that is costly to industries, local governments, and the state’s economy when moving goods.
  • Increase in-state capacity for electricity generation to improve supply, reduce costs, ease regional market effects, and recoup expenses by supporting renewable power generation with financial incentives, regulations that promote growth, and industrial/logistics resources.
  • Continue to support the RhodeWorks plan and its emphasis on reaching a state of good repair for bridges and advocate additional long-term federal and state funding programs for infrastructure to deliver consistent, reliable funding that is adjusted for inflation.
  • Continue to develop infrastructure resiliency plans that address natural disasters and man-made extreme events. Incorporate the impacts of climate variations (sea level rise, extreme storm events) into the design, operation, maintenance, and expansion of all types of infrastructure to improve community resilience - reducing the time and extent that households, businesses, and critical services in Rhode Island are affected during and after natural and man-made disruptions.
  • Mainstream tools for data-driven decision-making across all of Rhode Island’s infrastructure sectors, including asset management software, life-cycle cost analysis, and affordable rate structuring.
  • Pivot new construction, rehabilitation, and post-disaster rebuilds towards the use of consensus-based codes, specifications, and standards.
How does RI’s Grade measure up against America’s?

ASCE’s Infrastructure Report Card provides a comprehensive assessment of current infrastructure conditions and needs, assigning grades and making recommendations to raise them. The 2017 Report Card found the national grade for infrastructure to be a D+.

Report Card 2021

ASCE’s Infrastructure Video Report Card 2021.

Engineering News-Record

Engineering News-Record provides the engineering and construction news, analysis, commentary and data that construction industry professionals need to do their jobs more effectively. ENR reports on the top design firms, both architects and engineers, and the top construction companies as well as projects in the United States and around the world.


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RI's Voice

In 2016, Rhode Island approved a controversial plan to improve its poorly maintained roads and bridges.