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America's constant problem : Infrastructure

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posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:06 PM
Most of America infrastructure was built in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Now's the time to modernize and restore it.

If you look at the 2009 report card on America infracstruture by the American Society of Civil Engineers the report is quite alarming.

The whole report

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.

Which is quite dangerous...

On the costs...


A $17 billion annual investment is needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions.

Drinking Water

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.


Projected electric utility investment needs could be as much as $1.5 trillion by 2030.

Hazardous Waste

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.


Rough estimates put the cost at more than $100 billion to repair and rehabilitate the nation's levees.

Inland Waterways

The cost to replace the present system of locks is estimated at more than $125 billion.

Public Parks & Recreation

While significant investments are being made in the National Park Service for its 2016 centennial, the agency's facilities still face a $7 billion maintenance backlog.


More than $200 billion is needed through 2035 to accommodate anticipated growth.


The current spending level of $70.3 billion per year for highway capital improvements is well below the estimated $186 billion needed annually to substantially improve the nation's highways.

And last year engineers said that the US government should invest about 2 trillions over 5 years to fix roads that need it badly.
Now some cash-strapped towns and counties are finding progress too expensive, and they are tearing up battered roads and putting down gravel.

The National Education Association's best estimate to bring the nation's schools into good repair is $322 billion.


The Federal Transit Administration estimates $15.8 billion is needed annually to maintain conditions and $21.6 billion is needed to improve to good conditions. In 2008, federal capital outlays for transit were only $9.8 billion.


The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the nation must invest $390 billion over the next 20 years to update or replace existing systems and build new ones to meet increasing demand.

Since the economy is double dipping, as in it never left the first dip in the first place... and falling into depression levels... the money will not be there to fix it...

Obama wants reasons to spend stimulus money? There's plenty to go around.

Better do it now than wait for the dollar to lose it's reserve status or interest on the debt to reach Greece-like levels.

posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:33 PM
I remember Obama talking about "shovel ready" jobs. There is lots out there, unfortunately, much of the stimulus money gets used to keep certain people working, instead of creating new jobs that will get other people working. Apparently, from what I hear on the news, they haven't even spent all the stimulus money yet they are talking about more stimulus

If they let the infrastructure keep falling apart, the US is going to start looking like a third world country, when the rails fall apart, and the damns let loose, and the roads crumble away, and people start getting sick because the water isn't clean anymore partly because of the toxic waste contamination.....

posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:36 PM
The roads here all look crappy compared to in Europe, based on what I've seen in Street View.

posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 11:38 PM
reply to post by Vitchilo

Some of those things have nothing to do with government spending, like most electric utilities are privately owned and operated, as are dams, and rail roads. The biggest problem appears to be roads, highways and bridges. Bridges especially. But then again, wasn't that what the stimulus money was for?

posted on Aug, 20 2010 @ 06:31 PM
$17 billion big ones for updating bridges?

That figure in itself is too low for there to be sufficient funds to keep the bridges that need it in good repair. Seventeen billion a year just to fix or completely renovate a few hundred bridges a year. Now granted there are states that can get the money with no problem. However, there states like California and New York that don't have the money to supply the majority of funds needed to make these repairs. There are bridges in my area that are in dire need of repair. Most of these bridges are on state highways and a U.S. highway. The thing is, the state of West Virginia has built about thirty new bridges in the past four years.

Our drinking water systems are facing an $11 billion dollar hole when it to replacing outdated facilities?

That my friend would fall on the utility companies that own the water treatment and the pumping facilities that are used to get our drinking water. Yes, the government should supply about 25 to 30% of the funding needed to complete the overhauls that our water system needs. However, the majority of the funding should fall on the hands of the utility companies that own the said facilities and pipelines needed to improve our water systems. Granted that some locations here in the United States don't have the "city water" that most locales have. The replacement of water pipes, treatment facilites, and pumping facilities would fall on the state run Public Service Districts that may not have the ability to acquire the funds needed, or the equipment needed, for replacement projects. Therefore, funding for these projects may come from the state Department of Environmental Protection or the state Public Service Commission. If that is the case, then the states that don't have the funding for these projects may ask the government for assistance.

A projected cost of $1.5 trillion dollars to upgrade our electric infrastructure by 2030?

As with the water treatment and pumping facilities owned by private utility companies before, this would also fall on the privately owned utility companies' hands. It would be the utility companies that would be responsible for a majority of the funding required to upgrade the capacity of our electrial infrastructure. It would also be up to the utility companies to keep up maintanence on the infrastructure itself.

I do agree that the amount of funding for the "Superfund" does need to increase. If you increase the amout of funding to, let's say $12 billion, it would make a big dent on the amount of hazardous waste cleanup sites across the country. Not to far from me is one of those Superfund projects. This site, now home to the McClintic Wildlife Management Area, was the former location of the West Virginia Ordinance Works during World War II. After the war had ended, the site itself is also home to the Mason County Airport and a business park. In 1979, fishermen in the Wildlife Management Area noticed red water seepage at the site. In 1981, TNT; DNT; and other residual effects from the Ordinance Plant had been identified. It was in 1983 that the site was listed on the National Priorities List that made it eligible for the Superfund program. It will take another $99.3 million until 2020 to completely clean this site alone.

As for the funding of inland waterways and levee projects. That falls solely on the government and the Army Corps of Engineers. It is going to take all of the $225 billion, and then some, to complete the construction and maintanence of our waterways and levees. It is going to take several billion dollars to keep the dams on resevroirs from failing and absolutely destroying a lot of people's homes and businesses. By several billion, it is going to take at least another $100 to $150 billion on top of what is being spent on waterways and the levees.

More than $200 billion needed to upgrade rail infrastructure?

As with the water and electrical infrastructure before. A majority of the funding should fall on the railroads themselves. Say this Heartland Corridor Project that Norfolk Southern is undertaking to increase intermodal capacity on a few lines. Seventy five to eighty percent of the money is coming not only from the railroad, but it is also coming from the public entities that want to see the increase in rail revenue. While only twenty to twenty five percent of the funding is coming from the government itself. I can tell you this right now, the railroads are spending as much as they can without going bankrupt on the infrastructure.

$186 billion for needed for highway improvement projects?

I agree that it is going to take the $186 billion needed to upgrade our highways and byways. The problem is that a bunch of states don't have the money now for the repairs that the highways and byways need to be considered top notch. You see, we nearly got it right when we adopted the idea of superhighways from the Germans during and after World War II. The only problem is that nobody back then saw the need for the increase in funding to be able to handle the increased traffic capacity that we constantly have problems with now.

As for the $332 billion needed to upgrade our schools.......
That would fall on the hands of the state's and federal Department of Education to set aside the funding for the needed upgrades and the construction of new schools. On average, it takes $10 to $20 million dollars for the construction of new schools. This includes the cost of all supplies needed and the time to build the school. However, the state can help with the funding if the school district cannot afford the cost of a new building or they cannot afford to maintain the schools at which need repairs or renovations. If there are multiple districts in a state that cannot fund either, then it should be on the hands of the government to provide funding. As for the reason why funding for schools dropped drastically, all you have to do is look at the "No Child Left Behind" Act which Bush 43 put into law

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