Anyone who has driven on a major interstate anywhere in the U.S. or across a bridge that is in dire need of repair, it may come as no surprise that the infrastructure in the United States needs a lot of help.
In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America’s infrastructure a D+ in their report; the ASCE releases a report card for the condition of the infrastructure every four years. The grim rating, which is hardly much better than a complete failure, is leaving a country frustrated and divided.
When you take a look at the ASCE’s report card, it’s a little overwhelming. Our drinking water, schools, aviation, and public parks all get a grade of a D or D+. The list goes on and you can’t help but think, “Where did we go wrong?” We all know that all of this didn’t just suddenly happen overnight, we are watching our infrastructure crumble in front of us each time we turn on the news.
We see how we’ve failed each time we spend hours of our day in traffic or when we lose another person we love in a preventable car accident on our congested and dilapidated roadways. We know that our infrastructure is in bad shape when residents of Flint are still afraid to drink the water and children all over the country are going to schools with black mold and leaky roofs.
The President’s Solution to The Crumbling Infrastructure
During his campaign, the president made numerous promises that have yet to come to fruition and he often talked and “promised” that he would focus on the eyesore which is the nation’s infrastructure. The president has been in office for over 500 days and some of us are still spending nearly a hundred hours in traffic every year, wasting thousands of dollars in gas as we idle.
We still need to take detours because a bridge is shut down indefinitely or we know someone who can no longer take their normal bus route to get to work because there’s no more funding.
What Happens If We Don’t Spend Money on Our Infrastructure?
Rather than trying to boost the grades on the ASCE report card and fix what’s broken, Trump’s solution is to build more infrastructure that pays for itself, such as toll roads. This is far from a viable solution and here are just a few reasons why.
If $80 billion was spent, in the next ten years, on a new road rather than repairing our infrastructure, the 30,000 miles of levees could break and destroy $1.3 trillion in property, over 300 colleges, dozens of sports venues, and other valuable assets to our economy.
If funds are not allocated to improving aging equipment and overall improvement, we are more likely to experience power interruptions that can affect the livelihood and well-being of everyone in the country.
Every category of our infrastructure needs to be improved before ASCE assesses it again (and we don’t have much more room to decline).
Infrastructure isn’t just about the quality of our roads and bridges. It’s the quality of our economy, our lives, and our overall happiness.
We can all handle the occasional traffic jam, but what happens when it occurs on every road across America? What happens when all communities have unsafe drinking water? What happens when we continue to lose the people we love in preventable roadway accidents?
Author: Matt Rhoney
Image source: Vek Labs on Unsplash