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America’s Crumbling Infrastructure

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One of the key signs that we are in the early stages of an economic collapse and that we are heading towards another Great Depression is America’s crumbling infrastructure.  The truth is that our infrastructure is literally falling apart all around us.  Thousands of bridges are structurally deficient and there have already been some very high profile collapses.  Over 30 percent of the highways and roads in the United States are in very poor shape.  Aging sewer systems are leaking raw sewage all over the place.  The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity.  There have already been some regional blackouts, and unless something is done quickly things promise to get even worse.  The truth is that a nation’s infrastructure says a lot about who they are.  So what does America’s infrastructure say about us?  It says that we are a rusting, crumbling, decaying leftover from a better, more prosperous time.

Just consider the following facts about America’s infrastructure from the Pew Research Center website…..

*According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.

*According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America’s major roadways are in substandard condition – a significant factor in a third of the more than 43,000 traffic fatalities in the United States each year.

*The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that traffic jams caused by insufficient infrastructure waste 4 billion hours of commuters’ time and nearly 3 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

*The Association of State Dam Safety Officials has found that the number of dams in the United States that could fail has grown 134% since 1999 to 3,346, and more than 1,300 of those are considered “high-hazard” – meaning that their collapse would threaten lives.

*More than a third of all dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in just the last decade.

*According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, aging sewer systems spill an estimated 1.26 trillion gallons of untreated sewage every single year, resulting in an estimated 50.6 billion dollars in cleanup costs.

The following are some additional facts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce….

*A decaying transportation system costs our economy more than $78 billion annually in lost time and fuel.

*The United States must invest $225 billion per year over the next 50 years to maintain and adequately enhance our surface transportation systems. Currently, we’re spending less than 40% of this amount.

*U.S. transit systems earned a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Transit funding is declining even as transit use increases faster than any other mode of transportation – up 21% between 1993 and 2002.

*Costs attributed to airline delays – due in large part to congestion and an antiquated air traffic control system – are expected to triple to $30 billion from 2000 to 2015.

*By 2020, every major U.S. container port is projected to be handling at least double the volume it was designed to handle.

*Throughout the United States, railroads are projected to need nearly $200 billion in investment over the next 20 years to accommodate freight increases.

Are you starting to get the picture?

America’s aging infrastructure cannot handle the number of people that we have now.  With the population of the United States expected to hit 420 million by 2050, there are serious questions about how the national infrastructure is going to hold up under such a strain.

Already the infrastructure in many areas of the United States is beginning to resemble that of a third world nation.  The video posted below contains some of the highlights from a History Channel special about America’s infrastructure from a couple of years ago that highlights many of these problems….

So can anything be done about America’s crumbling infrastructure?

Of course.

State and local governments can spend the money needed to fix and maintain our infrastructure.

But that is not going to happen.


Because state and local governments are now facing unprecedented financial shortfalls.

In fact, it is more likely that expenditures on infrastructure will actually be cut.

According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, after two years cutting spending on schools, health care, and other public services, U.S. states are preparing to carve even deeper into funding for 2011.

Of course the U.S. government could step in with necessary infrastructure funding, but considering the state of the U.S. national debt, it seems unlikely that state and local governments will be able to count on much more help from the folks in Washington D.C.

So what does that mean?

It means that America’s infrastructure will continue to rust, decay and fall to pieces.  Our grandparents and great-grandparents invested a lot of time, energy and money into building up this great nation, but now we are letting it rot right in front of our eyes.

What do you think that says about us?

  • Dan

    Just put a coat of paint over the top it will be fine.

  • Matt

    Vote for marxists and this what you get. This won’t start to change until we stop voting for marxists. Look at the old Soviet Union and Eastern Europe for our future.

  • hidflect

    I ahh… thought this had all been worked out by Obama and the millions of shovel-ready jobs to fix America’s infrastructure. I’m not being a smart@ss here. Why is no-one mentioning the serious disconnect between the promise and the reality?

    • Denise

      The stimulus was $30 billion. A drop in the bucket. Don’t blame Obama. Either the gas fax needs to be raised or even better toll the entire interstate system. Unfortunately this is probably all Greek to you like most people.

    • fehstones

      I agree with you ‘hid’, but like Denise says 30 billion is a drip we need at least 10% [$75 billion] just as a start.
      PS: Pay no attention to the other comment, just another excuse driven tax and spender


    Totally agree Rome is falling. I saw the History channel show you mentioned a lot of bridges and dams I’m glad I don’t live around. The thing is I don’t think they have the time to fix many issues because of the state of disrepair all this stuff is in something bad is bound to happen again, i.e. the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in MN and it would be an isane amount of money.

  • stevor

    The folks in California saw the problem with failing infrastructure in the way of our highways and voted to tax ourselves with each gallon of gas purchased. Unfortunately, the governor STOLE that money to use elsewhere.

    Why? Because the liberal government feels that MANY people are “entitled” to this, that and a lot of other things, paid for by the SUCKERS who are “adults”, learned to plan, took advantage of school, managed their affairs, and got decent-paying jobs.

    The only way out is to realize that people are NOT ENTITLED to the labors of less lazy people.

  • Laura

    America is in the trash bin of history. There is no future as jobs are outsourced and people pouring in over the border making more demands on infrastructure, utilities, water, etc. I’m now a retiree, and quit voting 25 years ago (scandals, etc) and see no hope, it will only get worse.

  • Who voted for a “Marxist”? I know I didn’t, I voted for a “democrat”. These structures didn’t decay over the last year, they decayed over the last DECADES. No matter who is in office, things won’t really change until people demand it.

    When more I-35W like incidents occur that affect much more people, then people will be screaming for change.

    People have been “pouring over the border” for over 500 years. It’s not going to stop if the world population keeps rising, get used to it.

    It’s not about “liberal” or “conservative”. That’s just a ruse. It’s about progress, and we are not seeing much, no matter who is reportedly in office.

  • Tony W

    Up till the 1970s, the U.S. was definitely the country to be envied. But few Americans realize post-war Europe has caught up, and, in some ways, surpasses the U.S. today. Some U.S. infrastructure would not look out of place in former Communist eastern Europe. Americans can only envy the state of highways, bridges and such in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France.

  • Karl

    This is what 40 years of Republican, starve the beast, trickle down Reaganomics gets you. Anyone that votes Republican can look in the mirror if they want someone to blame.

    I am 32 and will be cursing the cheapskates of my parents and grandparents generation long after they are gone for having to pay additional taxes to replace crap that was not maintained, poorly built, poorly planned, etc. Thank god for patch and pray!

    America’s idea of infrastructure is to build another football or baseball stadium for a bunch of dumbass jocks that make way too much money. Europe and Asia put us to shame. You can forget about ever having the Olympics here again in your lifetime.

    Meanwhile in this country, the best and brightest work making cruise missles and derivatives. Why would anyone here want to be an architect or engineer when you will be unemployed for 2 years and not make jack when you do have a job?

    Oh wait, my bad! It was the Marxist! They always skimp on public works projects! I think the gulags were actually FDR’s new deal! AHAHAHA! what a joke.

  • Concerned Reader

    Infrastructure decay was one of one reasons why the roman empire collapsed. The aquaducts that supplied Roman cities with fresh drinking water eventually became unreliable for the populace and the barbarians were able to starve many of their cities by sealing off their water supplies.

    Just imagine when you go to drink a glass of water you may be drinking your neihgbor’s toilet water thanks to the sewage water seeping into the drinking water.

    Where I live almost all of the roads are in a state of decay with alligator cracks and patched pot holes all over the place. What is even worse id the fact that the lines dividng the lanes are fading and this provides a damgerous situation for commuters. I drive under over passes and see the concrete chipped and the support beams covered in rust or chipping paint. Another over pass with train tracks on top recently had its elvated side walk collapse into the street. The city sealed off the sidewalk with caution signs, but people end up walking in the darkened over pass. We are in serious peril if nothing is done about the infrastrucutre.

    As stated in the article, America’s population is estimated to add another 100 million people within the next fifty years. The massive strain already placed onto our infrastrucutre is putting it towards the breaking point.

    The infrastrucuture will probably continue to decay until America is no longer a viable nation. I am ashamed to say that, but it is the truth. One thing we could do is place a moratorium on sports stadium construction until our roads are fixed.

  • sharonsj

    The only Marxist in Congress I know about is Bernie Sanders–and he is the only one who actually gives a damn about people. I’d rather have a bunch of Bernie Sanders than dimwits like McConnell, deMint and Bachmann.

    State governments are generally responsible for infrastructure, so go after your local politicians first. Then go after private corporations, like the electric companies, who are paying themselves big salaries instead of fixing equipment.

  • Weltgeist

    what about students, colleges, and student loans from the fed. govt.? What is going to happen to us when there is no revenue and no income to pay on those loans. That money is going nowhere. $_$
    Good luck getting them paid back!

  • Weltgeist

    (thanx for post, I wanted to add:)
    This economic state is by design. There are elite who want nothing more, but to see Amer. go under. The sad thing is that we were warned and ppll still did nothing. There are many who still think things are fine and going well. I cannot reason how dumb these gullible Americans really are. With the implementation of NAFTA, a North American Union and a rush of immigrants from south, we’re on the verge of a total collapse. It isn’t just from NAFTA, it is the NWO scheme & agenda’s. China is hurting from giving labor to Korea & Vietnam. It is all over, not just the U.S.

    • fehstones

      right on ‘Weltgeist’ you are 100% correct. on your post above i say we get as many businesses together as we can, [my company would e willing] each to chip in 10% of their earnings but insist that the fed chip in 10% of the stimulus the robed from us. with the added stipulations.
      1. contractors o by 1967 rules.
      2. overseen by the businesses that pony up and not fed nor state govt.

    • R C

      But… But… But… Diversity is our strength!

  • Steve

    You stimulus dollars at work…

  • imp

    I was watching a video about the ‘lost decade’ in Japan. It tried to make it seem like the Japanese are going through really hard times. But there was only one homeless guy on the street, and the streets were clean and no potholes, and the lights were bright and the buildings modern and gleaming. We could use a lost decade like that.

  • Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs speaks to the issue 3 years ago … watch his YouTube here …

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