The goal of infrastructure is to keep people safe as they live their lives. This is realized in the millions of people who successfully drive or take public transit to work each day; in the clean water that comes out of the tap; and the safety offered by dams. But unfortunately we know that sometimes this goal is not achieved. This week we are reminded of this as National Dam Safety Awareness Day remembers the unnecessary loss of life in Johnstown, Penn. 125 years ago.
When we invest, we are less likely to experience these tragedies, as it ensures that infrastructure succeeds in what it was designed to do. The Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) reauthorization of the National Dam Safety Program is one step that offers this assurance, but there is still more that must done.
This is also true of the Highway Trust Fund. Road conditions are a factor in one in three U.S. traffic fatalities. As the Trust Fund moves toward insolvency in the next few months, states will have less funding to repair roads or start new projects. This will be hard on commuters, summer road travelers and the economy.
As Vermont Rep. Peter Welch said, “potholes don’t fix themselves.” Whether you’re paying for it in gas taxes, tolls, or time idling in your car, you are paying for it. It is time to #fixtheTrustFund so we can benefit from investment, rather than suffer the consequences of inaction.