This Week in Infrastructure: Getting Infrastructure Projects Moving Through the Ballot Box


With Election Day around the corner, ballot initiatives related to infrastructure will give voters a chance to help shape our nation’s future. The economic, environmental and public safety issues on each state’s ballots underscore ASCE’s strategic initiative: improving our nation’s infrastructure.

Infrastructure is the backbone of our economy. The roads and bridges we drive on, the water we drink, the schools we attend and the power systems we rely on are aging badly and in need of repair. ASCE’s 2013 Report Card shows that our nation’s backbone—infrastructure—is in serious need of investment to bring it into good condition.

In The Huffington Post blog, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance wrote, “Without a world-class infrastructure, we will not be able to compete in the global marketplace. Resilient infrastructure systems mean we can keep our communities healthy and safe. And, fixing and modernizing these systems is an economic opportunity we cannot afford to pass up.” As this blog illustrates, clearly more advocacy groups realize the domino effect that failing infrastructure has on our nation’s economy and the welfare of all Americans.

Without infrastructure in a state of good repair, our nation’s most essential resources are at serious risk. NPR recently exposed how much water is currently being wasted as a result of aging infrastructure. According to NPR, researchers have estimated aging pipes, broken water mains and faulty meters have resulted in enough wasted drinking water to rise 300 feet above Manhattan. And the American Water Works Association added, “nationwide, the amount of water that is lost each year is estimated to top 2 trillion gallons.” According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), every year we lose enough water due to aging infrastructure to, “swallow several major American cities whole.” These are startling statistics that cannot be ignored.

In light of increased media focus on the state of our nation’s infrastructure and the consequences of continuing to delay much-needed investment, political leaders are speaking out for solutions. In Vice President Joe Biden’s recent speech for increased infrastructure spending, he said that Americans need to, “Build, build, build….we always have to build. That’s who we are.” Biden noted that such building would pay off with jobs and growth in manufacturing.

When it comes to our nation’s infrastructure, there is more at stake than detoured commutes and increased traffic. Infrastructure is a vital part of our everyday lives and is the foundation that drives our economy.  Election season is a time to not only reflect on its importance but also to make your voices heard at the ballot box to change it for the better.

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