Tuesday, March 20, 2012

California Ports Receive B- Grade from Engineering Council

The American Council of Engineering Companies of California has given the state’s ports a B- grade in its latest analysis of the state’s infrastructure.

In its report, which was issued March 1, ACEC California says it believes the state should take a more cohesive approach to port structures and their connections with other modes of transportation.

The idea, the Council says, is to view the ports as part of a complete transportation system and plan accordingly.

The ACEC also says the state can also improve its ports by making sure that harbor maintenance tax funds are properly allocated and used for their intended purpose.

“California’s ports are a key element in our state’s global competitiveness, and efficient goods movement should be an economic priority for our state,” ACEC California executive director Paul Meyer said.

The grade is an improvement over the last time the Council released the results of its state infrastructure analysis. In the previous report card, released in 2006, California’s ports received a C+.

As part of its analysis, the ACEC grades eight areas: ports, levees/flood control, water supply, the transportation system, aviation, wastewater, urban runoff and solid waste management.

The state’s transportation system received a grade of C- this year, which the engineering society said was due to the bloated state of the California Department of Transportation.

ACEC has called for a reduction in Caltrans staffing, assigning more resources to improvements, authorizing municipalities and counties to take more responsibility for project delivery and making greater use of public-private partnerships and design-build.

ACEC California also recommends that the state revamp how it pays for transportation improvements. The current system, which primarily relies on gas tax revenue, is becoming “archaic” as electric, hybrid and non-traditional vehicles become more popular, according to the engineering society.