A new dam rehabilitation bill introduced in the Senate and continued attention to our nation’s water and surface infrastructure needs marked this week’s infrastructure headlines.
The High Hazard Potential Small Dam Safety Act, a Senate bill sponsored by bipartisan lawmakers, would provide the first non-emergency federal grants to help local governments repair or replace aging dams to ensure public safety. The measure would provide $600 million of matching grants to states, local governments, and water districts over the next 10 years, with the federal program picking up 65% of the costs. We believe this act is a great step, as there are 85,000 dams in the U.S. and the average age is 52 years old.
Dams aren’t the only facet of infrastructure that needs critical attention. According to Politico Magazine’s fifth national Mayors Survey, nearly 1 in 3 American mayors think that they may have already hurt their own citizens by making cost-saving decisions on critical infrastructure. According to the survey, the top concerns were roads and bridges, followed by water quality and pipe stability. However, mayors are struggling to find the money from their governors and states to properly address their infrastructure maintenance issues.
Mayors aren’t the only ones who are fed up with deteriorating infrastructure. A Mississippi resident expressed his frustration with our beleaguered roads by actually throwing a local pothole a birthday party. After several local news outlets reported on the pothole party, city officials finally filled it in, and will proceed to pave the surrounding area. This action, though comedic, is telling of the level to which our nation is collectively frustrated with poor infrastructure.
In a little under one month, we will celebrate Infrastructure Week to remind us all of the critical role that infrastructure plays in our economy, quality of life, safety and communities. You can support Infrastructure Week by sharing this thunderclap and remind everyone how #InfrastructureMatters.
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