Water main breaks, power outage and a thinning hourglass for federal highway funds


Water main breaks, potholes and power outages are all results of underinvestment in infrastructure. Infrastructure is interconnected and greatly impacts our daily lives and national economy. The highway and transit policy and expires 51 days from today so it is critical that Congress act quickly to find a sustainable, long-term funding solution.

Aging water infrastructure causes a water main break once every two minutes. On Wednesday, a 12-inch water main broke in New York City, forcing the evacuation of 500 people from a train and shutting down the surrounding trains and streets in the process. In California, the current water shortage crisis due to drought will require the state to spend $39 billion to meet its population’s drinking and, dry weather and a large population, means that they need to spend $39 billion to meet its population’s drinking water needs.

Water infrastructure, including locks and dams, are critical to facilitating trade. According to the National Journal, more than $200 billion worth of goods are shipped every year on massive barges crawling along major rivers and tributaries. But the aging locks and dams built nearly a century ago are hindering ships’ ability to transport goods efficiently. “Just imagine what that does for commerce—if you’re shipping a product down the river and it just stops,” ASCE Past President Greg DiLoreto said. “There’s a real economic tie to the condition of this infrastructure.”

In addition to water infrastructure, electric infrastructure also needs maintenance and attention. On Tuesday, a widespread power outage in D.C. and the surrounding area affected many government buildings, four surrounding museums and select subway stations.

Water and electricity infrastructure are crucial to our nation’s economy and trade and impact the daily life of all Americans.

The highway and transit policy expires in less than two months. It is important that Congress work together to pass legislation to provide a sustainable, long-term funding solution to #FixTheTrustFund.

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