Tags: Amtrak Derailment | Barack Obama

US Can't Afford an As-Is Infrastructure

By Wednesday, 03 June 2015 02:50 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The reality is that America’s Infrastructure is crumbling right before our eyes.

We are a nation in decline when is comes to our roads, bridges, railroads, pipelines, dams, etc. Don’t take my word for it — Kaye Foley a reporter for Yahoo News reported that the American Society of Civil Engineers’ have America’s infrastructure a grade of D plus. Globally America ranks 16th in the quality of its infrastructure behind France, Spain, and Japan — to name a few.

I just came back from a business trip to Japan and was impressed by their roads, bridges and trains. The streets were well maintained and spotless. The bridges were painted with not a speck of rust could be seen. The trains were clean and the station platforms you could eat off of. The trains ran on time and were likewise clean and well maintained.

No doubt the costs to maintain our infrastructure are high but not as high as not doing what is needed. Lack of proper road repairs cost the average American car owner over $324 dollars a year in repairs. The lack of proper planning and road maintenance has caused systemic congestion on our roads and has cost commuters time and money.

It is reported that 42 percent of America’s major highways suffer from daily congestion costing billions upon billions of dollars in wasted fuel and over 100 billion dollars in wasted time.

In America we have over 70,000 bridges that have been classified as “structurally deficient” — which means they are in poor condition and in need of attention.

The American Society of Civil engineers estimates that by 2020 America will require an investment of 1.7 trillion dollars in repairs to our surface transportation alone.

While most state and local governments finance the infrastructure themselves through state and local taxes the federal government does play a key role as well. The federal government provides substantial funding through revenues generated by the federal gas tax, which is placed in the Highway Trust Fund.

The total yearly revenue generated by the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax is a mere $34 billion dollars a year — nowhere near what is required to maintain our roads and bridges.

To date Congress and the President have refused to deal head on with the crisis that currently exists with regard to our crumbling infrastructure.

A band-aid is not the treatment of a compound fracture and the same can be said about filling a pothole on a 50-year-old spawling highway.

America is in danger of becoming a nation in serious decline.

It is time to invest in our nation’s critical infrastructure. Doing the bare minimum is not acceptable. How many lives must be lost to preventable accidents before politicians take action?

Pay for it now or pay more for it later is the reality of the crisis we face.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.

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No doubt the costs to maintain our infrastructure are high but not as high as not doing what is needed.
Amtrak Derailment, Barack Obama
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 02:50 PM
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