“It is an inescapable fact that there will always be the rich among us and there will always be the poor among us. Sometimes the rich will make a wrong decision, lose their wealth and join the poor. Sometimes the poor will break the bonds of poverty and join the ranks of the rich. It is the natural order. When government tries to even the playing field by passing laws, they muck it up every time and their meddling usually hurts the poor and the middle class, but never the rich. In the process, their entitlement programs allegedly designed to even the playing field, become the great sucking siphon of America’s Wealth.” – Ron Ewart
The other night, not being able to find anything worthy to watch on what has become a mostly useless and debase entertainment venue, we turned the TV to the history channel and watched a documentary on America’s aging infrastructure. In the two-hour long program, they touched on every form of infrastructure, from roads, bridges and rail corridors, to water and sewer systems and dams, to oil and gas pipelines, to generation facilities and the electrical power grid, to river and lake levies and to our our sea and fresh water ports.
Many of these systems were built well over 50 years ago and some over 100 years ago. But like all systems, they begin to fail over time from the ravages of weather, rust and corrosion, electrolysis, earth movements, growing loads beyond capacity and inattention by those in charge. Water pipes burst daily all over America, releasing billions of gallons of domestic water onto streets and into houses and businesses. Bridges fail costing millions in replacement and lost lives, like the 2007 collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the 2013 collapse of the Skagit River bridge in Mount Vernon in Washington State. Roads age, crack, slip and slide costing millions in vehicle damage, lost commerce and even lives. Gas pipelines blow up resulting in millions of dollars in property damage and again, more lives. Levies break during times of severe floods and destroy thousands of buidlings, crops and lives. Derailments occur due to aging steel rails, decaying ties and loosening rail spikes, ground slippage and sometimes sabotage. Hazardous chemicals are released into the atmosphere and wholesale evacuations are mandated. Sea and fresh water ports fill up with sediment requiring constant dredging and aging docks are deteriorating and failing. As the entire infrastructure systems age without maintenance, upgrades and replacement, the cost to the economy, jobs and lives will accelerate.
In a recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers they forecast a short fall of at least $1.6 trillion by the year 2020. Public safety is being marginilized due primarily to lack of state and federal funds. Why? Continue reading