With the Pope making his way across our northeastern cities, the topic of traffic congestion was a popular one, highlighting our nation’s transportation needs. The Onion even joked that the Pope even tried to improve the nation’s ailing infrastructure.
While not directly related to the Pope’s visit, this week in D.C., the subway system suffered an electrical fire and outage, resulting in the evacuation of passengers and extreme delays. While traffic increases are predictable during major events, our existing transit systems should be able to handle increased ridership without breaking down. Fortunately, the number of recent incidents in the D.C. subway system have prompted the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to approve a correction action plan to make the system more reliable.
Water infrastructure needs have been gaining more spotlight lately due to increased media attention. In Iowa, Des Moines Water Works, which is critical to providing water for to the Central Iowa region, is showing signs of aging and is in great need of repair. “We’re reaching the end of the life cycle of some of the most critical assets we’ve got,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of the utility.
Water infrastructure needs are also evident in New Hampshire, where the cost needed to repair aging systems, including pipes and treatment plants, could be as much as $1 trillion. In response to these needs, water providers, agencies, utilities, elected officials, corporations and environmental advocates across the country are joining together to educate the public about the challenges facing water and wastewater systems, and the need for investment. A nationwide event, Imagine a Day Without Water, will be held Oct. 6-8 in events across the country to emphasize how essential water is and the importance of maintaining water and wastewater infrastructure.
Meanwhile, additional states are taking action to repair their surface transportation infrastructure. Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, Oregon and Alaska are considering raising their state gas tax, among other options, to fund their transportation.
Whether it’s improving transit, maintaining water infrastructure or re-paving our roads, federal funding is essential. As we await the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s mark-up of its multi-year surface transportation bill, write your members of Congress and urge them to pass a long-term transportation bill by the October 29 deadline.