WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) today reacted to the release of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 report card, which this year rates U.S. infrastructure as a “D+“ overall, and, specifically, bridges at a “C+”—taking into account investment, capacity and the need for the project to be completed.

Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI, said, “The roads, highways and bridges that enable the transport of steel are suffering from a lack of investments that are threatening commerce and global economic competitiveness. The steel industry is not only a user of the highway system, but our products serve as key components in the construction of the system. In order for our economy to remain internationally competitive, a strong commitment to robust infrastructure spending—which includes long-term transportation funding—is critical.”

The report said that nine percent, or about 56,000, of America’s bridges are structurally deficient. Gibson encouraged the steel industry’s continued leadership on bridge construction.

“The report card demonstrates the areas where there is opportunity to construct and modernize our nation’s foundation, and the bridge program is a large part of that. The benefits of infrastructure investment – good paying jobs, a stimulated economy, a revitalized steel industry – will generate an economic ripple effect, and the steel industry stands ready to help make those contributions,” he said.

Gibson also applauded ASCE’s call for an increased gas tax, “The revenue collected from the existing fuel tax has long been insufficient to meet economic demands and the fuel tax has not been raised since 1993. What is really needed is a reliable and sustainable funding mechanism, such as a user fee in the form of an enhanced gas tax or similar measure that is indexed for inflation, that ensures that those who use the nation’s highways also pay for their upkeep.”