A portion of this was posted below. I thought I needed this subject as a post by itself.
Rachel Maddow has talked about this extensively. Infrastructure. We have to start spending money on our infrastructure. It is nothing like spending money on a sexy building that has your name on it (politicians love to do this). It is not like corporate tax cuts which have the added bonus of getting some return campaign contributions. Instead, spending in infrastructure can give us bridges that don’t fall down. It can also give us a more stable power grid.
This week several states including Kentucky were hit with a major ice storm. I’m not sure how common ice storms are in Kentucky. I grew up in Dallas. We had a major ice storm almost every year. Every year the power went out to some section of the city. This probably still happens today in Dallas. Maintenance. Cutting trees over power lines can prevent some of these power outages. Also, burying power lines so they are not susceptible to the forces of nature can prevent some of these outages. None of these ideas are new. All they would take to fix this problem is some money. I see no reason why in the year 2009 large cities like Louisville should be in the dark because of an ice storm.
The National Guard was called out in Kentucky to help with the ice storm aftermath.
We need to demand more from our local, state and federal officials. There is simply no reason for this.
Watch the video:
The American Society of Civil Engineers has rated our infrastructure a D. Sure, they have a self-interest in this. If we invest in a lot of projects then a lot of engineers will have work. Still, they have a major point. Here are some of the low lights of their report –
Despite surging oil prices, volatile credit markets, and a lagging economy, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts a three percent annual growth in air travel. These travelers are faced with increasing delays and inadequate conditions as a result of the long overdue need to modernize the outdated air traffic control system and the failure to enact a federal aviation program.
More than 26%, or one in four, of the nation’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. While some progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of deficient and obsolete bridges in rural areas, the number in urban areas is rising. A $17 billion annual investment is needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions. Currently, only $10.5 billion is spent annually on the construction and maintenance of bridges.
As dams age and downstream development increases, the number of deficient dams has risen to more than 4,000, including 1,819 high hazard potential dams. Over the past six years, for every deficient, high hazard potential dam repaired, nearly two more were declared deficient. There are more than 85,000 dams in the U.S., and the average age is just over 51 years old.
Drinking Water D-
America’s drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. This does not account for growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years. Leaking pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water a day.
Progress has been made in grid reinforcement since 2005 and substantial investment in generation, transmission and distribution is expected over the next two decades. Demand for electricity has grown by 25% since 1990. Public and government opposition and difficulty in the permitting processes are restricting much needed modernization. Projected electric utility investment needs could be as much as $1.5 trillion by 2030.
Hazardous Waste D
Redevelopment of brownfields sites over the past five years generated an estimated 191,338 new jobs and $408 million annually in extra revenues for localities. In 2008, however, there were 188 U.S. cities with brownfields sites awaiting cleanup and redevelopment. Additionally, federal funding for “Superfund” cleanup of the nation’s worst toxic waste sites has declined steadily, dropping to $1.08 billion in 2008, its lowest level since 1986.
More than 85% of the nation’s estimated 100,000 miles of levees are locally owned and maintained. The reliability of many of these levees is unknown. Many are over 50 years old and were originally built to protect crops from flooding. With an increase in development behind these levees, the risk to public health and safety from failure has increased. Rough estimates put the cost at more than $100 billion to repair and rehabilitate the nation’s levees. Continue reading Infrastructure