OUR VIEW - Time to get serious about infrastructure across the nation

"Bridges in America should not be falling down." So says Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher, who represents the home of the I-35 West bridge that collapsed Wednesday in Minneapolis, killing at least five and possibly as many as 20 others who were still missing at the time of this writing.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

"Bridges in America should not be falling down."

So says Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher, who represents the home of the I-35 West bridge that collapsed Wednesday in Minneapolis, killing at least five and possibly as many as 20 others who were still missing at the time of this writing.

According to news reports, as many as 25 percent of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient, just as the death bridge. Not only that, across the nation, schools and levies are crumbling and a steam pipe exploded a couple weeks ago in New York City killing one person and injuring many others.

We are going to see more and more such disasters unless the federal government gets serious now about repairing America's aging and decaying infrastructure.

One thing is certain, it won't be cheap, but the money is available and it has to be done. Infrastructure repair is just not a sexy way for politicians to spend money.

For one thing, limits on federal aid for infrastructure will have to be lifted. Hopefully, this will now happen. Too bad it is taking the deaths of Americans in Minnesota and New Orleans to get people to seriously consider it.

Not that states and local government don't share some of the responsibility - they do and could and should do more - but the Interstate Highway System, which the Death Bridge served, has always been a federal responsibility - just as it was intended.

One need not look far for the $1.6 trillion over five years the American Society of Civil Engineers says is needed just to bring the nation's infrastructure up to "good" condition.

America is spending $2 billion every 10 days just to occupy Iraq. Bringing that situation to a quick conclusion would free up more than enough money to do the job. One would think giving Americans reasonable peace of mind while they are driving across bridges is as important as trying to stand up a government that does not want us there.

We need to be spending more of our money on the Midwest instead of the Middle East. If we don't, you can count on seeing more and more catastrophic failures like that in Minnesota.

Comments

JEF (Anonymous)

Iraq? Do you Bozos have to put everything through a political sive? In the early days of America, roads, bridges and canals were built and maintained by private contractors through the use of user fees. Perhaps it's time to return the country to free market enterprise and for the nation's thoroughfares to be paid for by those who actually use them. What do ya say that we sell the Ohio turnpike and use the money to help maintain other roadways and bridges? When the Silver Bridge collapsed in 1967, I don't remember the cost of the Vietnam War being put forth as a possible cause. You're grasping at long straws.