A bridge collapsed this morning in the West Deptford area of New Jersey sending a train loaded with toxic chemicals into a creek. It was reported on CNN here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/30/us/new-jersey-train-derail/index.html
The American Society of Civil Engineers publishes an annual evaluation of the infrastructure of the United States. There are tens of thousands of bridges in the U.S., most of them built long ago and ill maintained. The ASCE says that a quarter of the nation’s bridges are “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.” Water systems, dams, and other infrastructure is also old and in need of repair.
But politicians are reluctant to sponsor remediation projects because they lack appeal and pizazz. It’s much more exciting and attractive to voters to grandstand about a new project. There’s no interest in spending money on existing structures and systems.
The ASCE estimates that $2.2 trillion needs to be spent repairing existing infrastructure. Imagine how many jobs that would create. But remediation projects are boring so we’ll have to wait until serious failures become common and people die before something is done about this problem.
The American Society of Civil Engineers publishes the results of their evaluation here: http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/