America's Failing Infrastructure

Subject: America's Failing Infrastructure
Date: 3 Dec 2015

As of 2010, the number of licensed drivers in the United States is 210 million and rising. Every year, about 1 in 10,000 will die in car crashes. While the majority of these fatal accidents are the result of negligence by at least one of the drivers, there are a multitude of other factors in play. Rain, potholes, ice and snow are all amongst the most common causes for car accidents. In fact, these hindrances are so common that most people view them as unavoidable. However, many of the resultant accidents would be precluded with better roads.
Scarily, this is only the tip of the iceberg in a nationwide infrastructure issue. America’s G.P.A for infrastructure is a startling D+, with roads at a D being far from the worst aspect. In order to remain in a functional state, let alone improve, there needs to be a minimum $3.6 trillion investment by 2020. If this is not met, America will begin to experience much greater danger in everyday life, something that has been steadily accumulating for decades.
America’s bridges for instance are on average 43 years old, with many in their late 60’s. As most are built with a lifespan of 50 years, massive overhauls are needed in the near future. 1 in 9 bridges are rated “Structurally Deficient,” and yet continue to be used daily.
At first glance, it’s fairly surprising this issue is not discussed more in the media. This is something that affects all Americans in many ways: infrastructure includes everything from energy consumption to buildings to waste management, after all. Likewise, it is a pressing issue, one that might be more urgent than global warming. With the kind of overhaul that is needed, why aren’t politicians promoting this issue as a job-creator? This is a collection of millions of construction jobs waiting to happen.
The single largest reason why the state of American infrastructure isn’t being addressed is because there is no public pressure. This isn’t an inherently schismatic issue of moral consequence, and so news networks will go after juicer targets to improve ratings. As a result, fewer people are even aware of the issue, and it continues to be ignored.
While it may seem like there is nothing to do until the problem erupts and people panic, there are ways to help beforehand. Congress is currently considering the Transportation Conference Report, which would increase funding to the transportation industry. Calling or emailing your legislators can help pass this bill, as well as inform them that their constituency wants a stronger infrastructure moving forward.
Ultimately, the failing state of our infrastructure is America’s ticking time bomb. In order for large-scale change to happen, we must reveal this as the danger it truly is. This will be addressed eventually, but we must decide to act before our country runs itself into the ground.