The United States infrastructure is falling apart nation wide. According to the Council On Foreign Relations:
“The United States has huge unpaid bills coming due for its infrastructure. A generation of investments in world-class infrastructure in the mid-twentieth century is now reaching the end of its useful life. Cost estimates for modernizing run as high as $2.3 trillion or more over the next decade for transportation, energy, and water infrastructure. Yet public infrastructure investment, at 2.4 percent of GDP, is half what it was fifty years ago.”
As a nation the Federal Government cannot afford to fix all of the structural challenges we have. We have a 16 trillion dollar debt and it is growing larger every minute. Have you ever thought how much 1 trillion is? It’s just under 32 years in seconds. How can we fix the United States infrastructure if we can’t get our debt under control. That means at a local level our communities need to start coming up with solutions to these problems.
According to Richard Duncan’s book “The New Depression” we should be investing the money we are printing into the United States infrastructure and renewable energy projects. Richard talks about the investment paying dividends back in the future. Not only would it create tax revenue through private contracts but it would also create a a new industry for jobs.
We have already seen the ramifications of having an older power grid with Hurricane Sandy. Sandy left 8.2 million people across 20 states without power says Marc Clayton. This is 1 example. Last year Hurricane Irene left 8.4 million people without power over 13 states.
Don’t forget about the spike that left nearly 55 million North Americans without power in 2003. According to Wikipedia the Northeast blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage that occurred throughout parts of the Northeastern andMidwestern United States and Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, August 14, 2003, just before 4:10 p.m. EDT. While some power was restored by 11 p.m., many did not get power back until two days later. At the time, it was the second most widespread blackout in history, after the 1999 Southern Brazil blackout. The blackout affected an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states
What’s more disturbing is the lack of maintenance nation wide. It’s just a reflection of our society as a whole. If you look at most of the side streets in any older neighborhood you will see sunken in sewer holes, blacktop patch work , cracks, and part of the roads that are uneven. To top it off the majority of major retailers do not take care of their parking lots either.
Popular Mechanics recommends we start with these 10 places, and why, to fix first:
- Circle Interchange/ Chicago: After years of being ranked two of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country by groups like the American Highway Users Alliance, both the U.S. 101 at the I-405 Interchange in Los Angeles and the I-610 and I-10 Interchange in Houston are being revamped. But the third-worst spot for highway congestion, Chicago’s Circle Interchange, is going nowhere. One parkway and three expressways meet here, and close to 300,000 vehicles a day are forced to reduce speed while navigating a network of tightly curved ramps.
- Brooklyn Bridge/ New York: It’s the oldest suspension bridge still being used in the United States and it is considered “structurally deficient” under the federal rating system.
- Canal Lock/ New Orleans: The 87 year old Industrial Canal Lock in New Orleans carries up to 20 million tons of cargo a year between the Mississippi River and the city’s Industrial Canal, which leads to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Supporting this commerce is critical to the economy of New Orleans and the entire country. Construction is expected to take 12 years
- Water System/ Atlanta: Water shortages aren’t limited to the Southwest. When Georgians faced drought last fall, residents of Atlanta pitched in to reduce their consumption, yet as much as 18 percent of the city’s water was hemorrhaging through leaking pipes.
- Alaskan Way Viaduct/ Seattle: After an earthquake in 2001 damaged the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a traffic artery in Seattle, inspectors found that some supports had subsided 5 in., weakening the structure. As many as 110,000 vehicles travel on the compromised structure each day.
- Lake Okeechobee/ Florida: In 2006, engineering experts calculated that in any given year there is a 1-in-6 chance that the Herbert Hoover Dike will fail, releasing waters from Lake Okeechobee. If that happened, South Florida’s water supply could be contaminated, and 40,000 lakeside residents could be threatened by flooding.
- Dover Bridge/ Idaho: Idaho’s Dover Bridge sees about 5000 vehicles per day. The bridge scored an outrageously low “sufficiency rating” of 2 out of 100 in the National Bridge Inventory last year
- Wolf Creek Dam/ Kentucky: Fixing the 5736-ft.-long Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky is one of the highest priorities for the Army Corps of Engineers. Wolf Creek’s limestone foundation has been dissolving at an alarming rate, a problem that was initially detected in 1968-16 years after construction was completed. When the problem was detected again in 2005, the Corps lowered Lake Cumberland and began an ambitious repair effort
- Sacrament River Levees/ California: Last year, the Army Corps of Engineers declared 122 levees in the country “at risk of failure.” Of these, 19 were on California’s Sacramento River. To pick just one, if the Natomas Levee were to fail, flood waters surging from the Sacramento River could endanger many of the 70,000 area residents-and put Sacramento International Airport under as much as 20 ft. of water.
- O’Hare International Airport/ Chicago: It had the country’s worst record of on-time departures in the first half of 2007 (fewer than 65 percent), according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is also among the worst in terms of near-misses on the runway-the airport saw 68 runway incursions between 2001 and 2006.
Not only is it inconvenient to be with out power or roads that are in good shape but it cost more to make repairs on roads the longer they go without attention. If the power goes out for any length of time there will be a huge deficit when it does come back on. We really need to start putting our resources in the right place in the near future or we, as a country, are going to face some big challenges with the United States infrastructure problems we have. They are not going to solve themselves. Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment or start a discussion.