When will we finally take action on America’s crumbling infrastructure?
But just how big is that problem?
According to the most recent American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Card, America received a D+. D+, the grade — as John Oliver so eloquently put it — a teacher gives a “nightmare kid so she doesn’t have to deal with him again”. Although that’s a bit of an exaggeration (in true John Oliver form), you get the point: our infrastructure is in serious need of repairs.
In order to make the necessary repairs, we’re going to need to invest $3.6 trillion by 2020. That’s a lot of money. A lot of money we don’t currently have; money we have to come up with as a country.
Here’s the kicker: this is NOT an issue that came out of nowhere. It’s from years of neglecting what was once the world’s most modern infrastructure system. We’ve known about the deficiencies of our bridges, the updates needed in our ports and railroads, the lack of inspectors for our dams, waterways and other infrastructure.
And we’ve ignored them for far too long.
It’s no secret we need to heavily invest in America’s crumbling infrastructure; it just hasn’t made it to the top of anyone’s list of priorities. Even now, no true action has been taken. No matter how much we talk about it, if we don’t do anything, nothing will change.
In his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama addressed the need for 21st century infrastructure to support 21st century businesses, including modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and Internet, among other infrastructure.
That was six months ago.
Have we made any significant progress in developing a plan of action?
Despite everything we know, very little (if any) progress has been made. Sure, there’ve been “talks” of different ways to help raise the money needed (like increasing the gas tax that’s stayed at 18 cents since 1993), but when it comes down to it, no real action has been taken.
However, it’s not enough to blame the government or their inability to come to a bipartisan agreement that will benefit the entire country.
We have to do more. We have to determine a plan, and we have to take action. At the very least, we have to be open to new ideas and ways of raising money to help keep our country together.
More than our bridges, roads, ports and railroads are at stake. Our ability to compete with the rest of the world on an economic level is at stake. Infrastructure is what gets our goods and services from one location to another. It’s what connects us to the next town, city, state, country and beyond. Without a properly functioning infrastructure system, we are putting ourselves at a significant disadvantage on a global level.
And that’s the last thing we need.
What do you think: how can we finally take action on America’s crumbling infrastructure?