As a sweltering heat engulfs most of the country, infrastructure issues have been heating up too. Many states are discussing their inadequate funding to improve infrastructure, presidential candidates are talking infrastructure, and a crane collapsed on one of the nation’s busiest bridges—reminding commuters of the value of working infrastructure.
On Tuesday afternoon, a crane collapsed on top of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, closing six lanes and shutting down traffic in both directions for more than five hours. While no one died in this incident, the domino-effect inconveniences of this event remind us how much we rely on bridges.
Despite the importance of roads and bridges, many states are struggling to properly fund their transportation projects. In Indiana, lawmakers are turning to rural residents and asking them to chime in about their infrastructure, and how best to fund it. In New Jersey, residents continue to be frustrated about the dozens of construction projects that have halted because of a political stalemate, which has put more than 1,000 state construction workers out of work. Rhode Island has historically spent little on capital projects like road and bridge repairs, reportedly dedicating less than 17 percent of its capital spending to highways, compared with a national average of 25 percent. Undoubtedly, this explains the poor road quality in Rhode Island compared to the national average.
As Americans become increasingly more aware of the nation’s infrastructure deficit, the topic has become more talked about on the campaign trail. The Bipartisan Policy Center wrote an open letter to the presidential candidates asking that the winning candidate make infrastructure a First 100 Days priority. At the Republican National Convention, Presidential Nominee Donald Trump promised to invest in infrastructure and build new “roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports and the railways of tomorrow.”
Check back next week for a breakdown of both parties’ platforms and convention discussion of infrastructure. In the meantime, Congress is out of session and now is a good time to encourage your legislators to invest in our infrastructure because the cost of investment could save you and your family $3,400 a year.