In 1947, the home of Francis Scott Key, author of the “Star Spangled Banner”, was set to be demolished after several unsuccessful bids to restore it by the historic community of Georgetown. The home of the poet and patriot was eventually leveled, but after many years the Francis Scott Key Bridge was erected to span the Potomac and connect Rosslyn with Washington DC, serving as both a major artery for transportation and commerce as well as a memorial to the father of our national anthem.
Now, 80 years after its completion in 1923, the bridge has been deemed structurally deficient by the Department of Transportation and is one of the thousands of decrepit bridges that the American Society of Civil Engineers says has earned America a “C” on the national status of our bridges. More currently, it was also the backdrop of a speech President Obama gave last Wednesday about the need for sustained infrastructure funding and the potential, according to a recent Forbes article, to create 27 million new jobs if adequately invested. In addition, the president also outlined his plan to expedite the flow of cash to shovel-ready projects that will fix our failing infrastructure and put Americans back to work.
Having the ability to enjoy a beautiful morning and hear the President of the United States cite ASCE’s work and quote from our studies was a definitive reward, and a reminder that we provide powerful tools and information for our leaders in business and government. If you’d like to keep up on transportation and infrastructure related news and noteworthy items, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and ASCE members should join the Key Contact Program.
As we move closer into the 2012 election year and inevitable spin zone and misinformation festival that will ensue, I’ll end with a quote from Ronald Reagan, which President Obama quoted in his speech yesterday:
“The bridges and highways we fail to repair today will have to be rebuilt tomorrow at many times the cost.”
The 2.2 trillion dollars ASCE estimates is required over 5 years to update and repair our infrastructure is the fulfillment of this prophecy. The longer we wait to pull our act together and agree, the more we will have to pay to address our infrastructure needs.