American Infrastructure-Now or Never Because of the poor state of the economy the care American infrastructure has been ignored, which poses a danger to everyone that come in contact with it. Recent disasters have reminded many how important the care of American infrastructure is. America’s infrastructure gets a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which recommends that we spend $2. 2 trillion on repairs and maintenance. “Much of America is held together by Scotch tape, bailing wire and prayers,” says director of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
But with the country no longer swimming but drowning in debt the upkeep of things such as roads and bridges, which we use every day, are easily overlooked. Mike Pagano, an urban planning expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said “We have convinced ourselves that infrastructure is free, that someone else should be paying or that we have paid our share. ” One must stop overlooking the problems that one knows exist simply because the consequences are not immediate. Crumbling infrastructure has a direct impact on our personal and economic health, and the nation’s infrastructure crisis is endangering our nation’s future prosperity,” D. Wayne Klotz. According to the U. S. Department of Transportation more than one in four of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry. A third of the country’s major roadways are also in less than standard condition which data from the National Highway Safety Administration finds plays a factor in a third of more than 43,000 traffic fatalities.
Along with the Association of State Dam Safety Officials finding that the number of dams that could fail has grown more that 134 percent since 1999 to 3,346 and more than 1,300 of those being “high-hazard” meaning their failure would threaten lives. When a council of 28 civil engineers evaluated 15 infrastructure categories on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation, maintenance, public safety and resilience water received the lowest grade. ASCE gave U.
S drinking water, inland waterways, levees, roads and wastewater infrastructures. The report they generated estimated that leaking pipes lose seven billion gallons of clean drinking water a day “Infrastructure is the four-syllable jawbreaker that governments use to describe the concrete, stone, steel, wires and wood that Americans rely on every day but barely notice until something goes awry (Kelderman). ” Due to the state of the economy many lawmakers put the money need to keep infrastructure properly taken care of into things like defense.
The federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which makes low interest loans to clean up or protect water supplies, has shrunk from more than $3 billion in 1990 to roughly $1 billion in 2007 (Kelderman). The report also suggests that there is an $11 billion dollar shortfall annually needed to bring facilities up to current federal water regulations. As stated in the article “ The State of the Union-Crumbling’, the nation is spending less than 40 percent of the $225 billion needed annually for the next 50 years to maintain the current system of roads, rails and bridges and build enough transportation capacity for a growing population.
In the past ten years there have been many infrastructure failures that make you wonder when the government will get serious about the issue at hand. Not paying attention to the condition of infrastructure has proven to be fatal. The article “The State of the Union- crumbling” confirms that on Aug. 1 2007 the Interstate 35 bridge in downtown Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi river, killing thirteen people. Steam pipe explosions in Midtown Manhattan last summer killed one and disrupted many.
In March 2006 the Kaloko Reservoir dam in Hawaii collapsed killing seven and causing $15 million in damages. In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina the levees holding back Lake Pontchartrain gave way killing more than a thousand. Imperative calls have been made to prevent anymore catastrophes due to failing infrastructure but not much has been done. Money is still being put into things like defense which many politicians feel is more important. But if we keep neglecting our own home we may have nothing but half mangled buildings to defend. Our leaders are looking for solutions to the nation’s current economic crisis. Not only could investment in these critical foundations have a positive impact, but if done responsibly, it would also provide tangible benefits to the American people, such as reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality, clean and abundant water supplies and protection against natural hazard. ” ASCE President D. Wayne Klotz stated. A report from Kansas City Missouri based HNTB corp. ound that 74 percent of Americans would be willing to spend more on various transportation expenses or taxes if the money was put toward long-term transportation improvements. More than half (58 percent) of Americans would pay more each month, an average of thirteen dollars per month, to reduce the time they spend in traffic by twenty percent. ASCE President D. Wayne Klotz also stated that “Infrastructure investment at all levels must be prioritized and executed according to well conceived plans that both complement the national vision and focus on system wide outputs.
Goals of the plan should center on freight and passenger mobility, intermodality, water use, environmental stewardship and encouraging resiliency and sustainability. The plans must reflect a better defined set of federal, state, local, and private sector roles and responsibilities and instill better discipline for setting priorities and focusing funding to solve the most pressing problems. The plans should also complement our broad national goals of economic growth and leadership, resource conservation, energy independence, and environmental stewardship.
Infrastructure plans should be synchronized with regional land use planning and related regulation and incentives to promote non-structural as well as structural solutions to mitigate the growing demand for increased infrastructure capacity. ” A long-term infrastructure plan can foster productive growth in our economy, sustainable growth that furthers energy independence and real solutions to climate change and comprehensive growth so that low and moderate-income families have access to opportunity.
And studies show that American citizen realize the importance and are willing to pay their fair share of the cost so the only thing missing now is action. Works Cited Kelderman, Eric. “The Pew Charitable Trusts. ” Pew Center on the States. N. p. , 16 Jan. 2008. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. ;http://www. pewstates. org/projects/stateline/headlines/the-state-of-the-union-crumbling 85899387455;. Failure to Act. Rep. N. p. : n. p. , n. d. 2011 Report Card. American Society of
Civil Engineers, July 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. ;http://www. asce. org/infrastructure/report-card/economic-study/;. “American infrastructure receives ‘D’ grade on ASCE report card. ” Clean Water Report 4 Feb. 2009: 2. General OneFile. Web. 2 Nov. 2012 “Infrastructure, Infrastructure. ” Transport Topics. 3967 (2011): 6-. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. “Americans support infrastructure investment. ” American City ; County 1 May 2011. General OneFile. Web 2 Nov. 2012.