In the wake of an earthquake and Hurricane Irene pummeling the East coast, there is now a spotlight on infrastructure. Thousands of bridges and roads needed to be inspected to make sure that they were safe for use. The graphic shows the grades from the 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.
These natural disasters are a reminder of the importance of infrastructure to our daily lives, and that our infrastructure cannot last forever without improvements and renovations. All of these categories were impacted in some way by these disasters. Schools were shut down, rail, roads, bridges and transit needed to be inspected for damage, flights were cancelled, dams and levees were full to the brim, sewage overflows dumped into waterways. As we recover from these natural disasters, we need to focus on preparing for future disasters by making improvements now to our infrastructure. Infrastructure improvements would assist in protecting lives and property against potential disasters.
Congress needs to take action now on the nation’s infrastructure problems, before more lives and property are put at risk due to hazards and corrosion. ASCE and other groups involved in transportation are concerned that without swift congressional action to reauthorize surface transportation funding, jobs will be lost and transportation infrastructure will continue to deteriorate. In ASCE’s Failure to Act economic study we found failure to invest in transportation infrastructure will hurt the US economy and families in the long term. When Congress returns from their summer recess they will only have 11 legislative days until the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax expires on September 30th, which will leave the highway trust fund without revenue. The recent FAA extension, passed during pro forma sessions held while most members of Congress were not in Washington, is set to expire on September 16th. ASCE hopes Congress will act quickly on these important pieces of legislation.