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Thread: America's Infrastructure

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline

    America's Infrastructure

    Here is an item that caught my eye quickly after hearing from S&L that in his humble opinion and experience "only one bridge" among a thousand that he knows is in need of repair and its only because they are waiting for federal funds. Now that is what i call
    "objective". LMFAO.

    This is from a 2009 Civil Engineer report.
    "More than 26%. or one in four, of the nation's bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. While some progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of deficient and obsolete bridges in rural areas, the number in urban areas is rising.A 17 Billion annual investment is needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions. Currently only $10.5 billion is spent annually on the construction and maintenance of bridges."


    From the America Society of Civil Engineers Report 2009

    Report Card 2009 Grades

    AVIATION D

    Despite surging oil prices, volatile credit markets, and a lagging economy, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts a three percent annual growth in air travel. These travelers are faced with increasing delays and inadequate conditions as a result of the long overdue need to modernize the outdated air traffic control system and the failure to enact a federal aviation program.

    BRIDGES C

    More than 26%, or one in four, of the nation's bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. While some progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of deficient and obsolete bridges in rural areas, the number in urban areas is rising. A $17 billion annual investment is needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions. Currently, only $10.5 billion is spent annually on the construction and maintenance of bridges.

    DAMS D

    As dams age and downstream development increases, the number of deficient dams has risen to more than 4,000, including 1,819 high hazard potential dams. Over the past six years, for every deficient, high hazard potential dam repaired, nearly two more were declared deficient. There are more than 85,000 dams in the U.S., and the average age is just over 51 years old.

    DRINKING WATER D-

    America's drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. This does not account for growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years. Leaking pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water a day.

    ENERGY D+

    Progress has been made in grid reinforcement since 2005 and substantial investment in generation, transmission and distribution is expected over the next two decades. Demand for electricity has grown by 25% since 1990. Public and government opposition and difficulty in the permitting processes are restricting much needed modernization. Projected electric utility investment needs could be as much as $1.5 trillion by 2030.

    HAZARDOUS WASTE D

    Redevelopment of brownfields sites over the past five years generated an estimated 191,338 new jobs and $408 million annually in extra revenues for localities. In 2008, however, there were 188 U.S. cities with brownfields sites awaiting cleanup and redevelopment. Additionally, federal funding for "Superfund" cleanup of the nation's worst toxic waste sites has declined steadily, dropping to $1.08 billion in 2008, its lowest level since 1986.

    LEVEES D-

    More than 85% of the nation's estimated 100,000 miles of levees are locally owned and maintained. The reliability of many of these levees is unknown. Many are over 50 years old and were originally built to protect crops from flooding. With an increase in development behind these levees, the risk to public health and safety from failure has increased. Rough estimates put the cost at more than $100 billion to repair and rehabilitate the nation's levees.

    INLAND WATERWAYS D-

    The average tow barge can carry the equivalent of 870 tractor trailer loads. Of the 257 locks still in use on the nation's inland waterways, 30 were built in the 1800s and another 92 are more than 60 years old. The average age of all federally owned or operated locks is nearly 60 years, well past their planned design life of 50 years. The cost to replace the present system of locks is estimated at more than $125 billion.

    PUBLIC PARKS & RECREATION C-

    Parks, beaches, and other recreational facilities contribute $730 billion per year to the U.S. economy, support nearly 6.5 million jobs, and contribute to cleaner air and water and higher property values. Despite record spending on parks at the state and local level, the acreage of parkland per resident in urban areas is declining. While significant investments are being made in the National Park Service for its 2016 centennial, the agency's facilities still face a $7 billion maintenance backlog.

    RAIL C-

    A freight train is three times as fuel efficient as a truck, and traveling via passenger rail uses 20 percent less energy per mile than traveling by car. However, growth and changes in demand patterns create bottlenecks which are already constraining traffic in critical areas. Freight and passenger rail generally share the same network, and a significant potential increase in passenger rail demand will add to the freight railroad capacity challenges. More than $200 billion is needed through 2035 to accommodate anticipated growth.

    ROADS D-

    Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic at a cost to the economy of $78.2 billion, or $710 per motorist. Poor road conditions cost motorists $67 billion a year in repairs and operating costs, and cost 14,000 Americans their lives. One-third of America's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 36% of major urban highways are congested. The current spending level of $70.3 billion per year for highway capital improvements is well below the estimated $186 billion needed annually to substantially improve the nation's highways.

    SCHOOLS D

    Spending on the nation's schools grew from $17 billion in 1998 to a peak of $29 billion in 2004. However, by 2007 spending fell to $20.28 billion. No comprehensive, authoritative nationwide data on the condition of America's school buildings has been collected in a decade. The National Education Association's best estimate to bring the nation's schools into good repair is $322 billion.

    SOLID WASTE C+

    In 2007, the U.S. produced 254 million tons of solid waste. More than a third was recycled or recovered, representing a seven percent increase since 2000. Per capita generation of waste has remained relatively constant over the last 20 years. Despite those successes, the increasing volume of electronic waste and lack of uniform regulations for disposal creates the potential for high levels of hazardous materials and heavy metals in the nation's landfills, posing a significant threat to public safety.

    TRANSIT D

    Transit use increased 25% between 1995 and 2005, faster than any other mode of transportation. However, nearly half of American households do not have access to bus or rail transit, and only 25% have what they consider to be a "good option." The Federal Transit Administration estimates $15.8 billion is needed annually to maintain conditions and $21.6 billion is needed to improve to good conditions. In 2008, federal capital outlays for transit were only $9.8 billion.

    WASTEWATER D-

    Aging systems discharge billions of gallons of untreated wastewater into U.S. surface waters each year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the nation must invest $390 billion over the next 20 years to update or replace existing systems and build new ones to meet increasing demand.

  2. #2
    Havakasha is offline
    " The truth is that our infrastructure is literally falling apart all around us."

    Thousands of bridges are structurally deficient and there have already been some very high profile collapses. Over 30 percent of the highways and roads in the United States are in very poor shape. Aging sewer systems are leaking raw sewage all over the place.

    The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity. There have already been some regional blackouts, and unless something is done quickly things promise to get even worse. The truth is that a nation’s infrastructure says a lot about who they are.

    So what does America’s infrastructure say about us? It says that we are a rusting, crumbling, decaying leftover from a better, more prosperous time.

    Just consider the following facts about America’s infrastructure from the Pew Research Center website…..

    *According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.

    *According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America’s major roadways are in substandard condition - a significant factor in a third of the more than 43,000 traffic fatalities in the United States each year.

    *The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that traffic jams caused by insufficient infrastructure waste 4 billion hours of commuters’ time and nearly 3 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

    *The Association of State Dam Safety Officials has found that the number of dams in the United States that could fail has grown 134% since 1999 to 3,346, and more than 1,300 of those are considered ”high-hazard” - meaning that their collapse would threaten lives.

    *More than a third of all dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in just the last decade.

    *According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, aging sewer systems spill an estimated 1.26 trillion gallons of untreated sewage every single year, resulting in an estimated 50.6 billion dollars in cleanup costs.

    The following are some additional facts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce….

    *A decaying transportation system costs our economy more than $78 billion annually in lost time and fuel.

    *The United States must invest $225 billion per year over the next 50 years to maintain and adequately enhance our surface transportation systems. Currently, we’re spending less than 40% of this amount.

    *U.S. transit systems earned a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Transit funding is declining even as transit use increases faster than any other mode of transportation – up 21% between 1993 and 2002.

    *Costs attributed to airline delays – due in large part to congestion and an antiquated air traffic control system – are expected to triple to $30 billion from 2000 to 2015.

    *By 2020, every major U.S. container port is projected to be handling at least double the volume it was designed to handle.

    *Throughout the United States, railroads are projected to need nearly $200 billion in investment over the next 20 years to accommodate freight increases.

    Are you starting to get the picture?

    America’s aging infrastructure cannot handle the number of people that we have now. With the population of the United States expected to hit 420 million by 2050, there are serious questions about how the national infrastructure is going to hold up under such a strain.

    Already the infrastructure in many areas of the United States is beginning to resemble that of a third world nation. The video posted below contains some of the highlights from a History Channel special about America’s infrastructure from a couple of years ago that highlights many of these problems….



    So can anything be done about America’s crumbling infrastructure?

    Of course.

    State and local governments can spend the money needed to fix and maintain our infrastructure.

    But that is not going to happen.

    Why?

    Because state and local governments are now facing unprecedented financial shortfalls.

    In fact, it is more likely that expenditures on infrastructure will actually be cut.

    According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, after two years cutting spending on schools, health care, and other public services, U.S. states are preparing to carve even deeper into funding for 2011.

    Of course the U.S. government could step in with necessary infrastructure funding, but considering the state of the U.S. national debt, it seems unlikely that state and local governments will be able to count on much more help from the folks in Washington D.C.

    So what does that mean?

    It means that America’s infrastructure will continue to rust, decay and fall to pieces. Our grandparents and great-grandparents invested a lot of time, energy and money into building up this great nation, but now we are letting it rot right in front of our eyes.

    What do you think that says about us?"
    Last edited by Havakasha; 01-26-2011 at 04:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
    U.S. Chamber, AFL-CIO issue rare joint statement in support of infrastructure spending
    by Joan McCarter
    Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 12:46:04 PM PST

    Don't expect this to mean that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be taking up the cause of the American worker, but it could be helpful to Obama's goal of more infrastructure spending.

    The business lobby and union conglomerate's respective leaders offered a united front in applauding the broad pitch for domestic development in Obama's State of the Union address.

    "America's working families and business community stand united in applauding President Obama's call to create jobs and grow our economy through investment in our nation's infrastructure," their joint statement reads. "Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only create jobs and demand for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy.

    "With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO standing together to support job creation, we hope that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will also join together to build America's infrastructure."

    What this really means is that the U.S. Chamber knows where there's big money for its big members. What is unclear is the lengths to which they'll put their clout--and money--where their mouth is and actually deliver Republican votes in Congress. In other words, what Matt Stoller said: "The Chamber 'supported' the stimulus and delivered 0 GOP House votes." Nonetheless, having their support is better than not having it, and even the Chamber recognizes that there's not going to be much in the way of American business for it to represent if America doesn't get working again.

  4. #4
    Havakasha is offline
    I quess S&L would prefer to continue to deny that U.S. Infrastructure is in need of major improvement.

  5. #5
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Live in fear lol.

    And the AFL-CIO opinion is objective LMFAO. As is the society of civil engineers. Any personal interest in either of those lobby's???

    Did you know the moon is falling into the Earth? It really is. It might happen millions of years from now, but things in orbit ALWAYS come back "home". It's physics. Phuck infrastructure, the moon is crashing.......... LMFAO. Let's focus on real problems.

  6. #6
    Havakasha is offline
    You seem to have forgotten it was a joint statement by the Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO.

    Who will you believe with regard to infrastructure problems in the U.S.?
    Oh i almost forgot you are more knowledgeable and objective than the Society of Civil Engineers. i know you've travelled the nations highways and 1000 bridges and know exactly what condition they are all in. LOL

    I cant help but note that you have provided zero statistics and facts to counter the Society of Civil Engineers, but you have no problem belittling their expertise. Don't worry, i will continue to provide you with statistics and facts from all kinds of places that will demonstrate that indeed America does have important infrastructure problems and immediate needs. You will joke about the moon.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 01-26-2011 at 08:58 PM.

  7. #7
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    My point was that the society of civil engineers is well, self serving. And yes, my personal experience is valuable. You want statistics, drive around yourself and count.

    Living in Fear. Google it. Read. Learn. Understand.

    And by the way, there's no joke about the moon.

  8. #8
    Havakasha is offline
    Quote Originally Posted by SiriuslyLong View Post
    My point was that the society of civil engineers is well, self serving. And yes, my personal experience is valuable. You want statistics, drive around yourself and count.

    Living in Fear. Google it. Read. Learn. Understand.

    And by the way, there's no joke about the moon.
    Oy vey!
    If you don't believe civil engineers regarding matters of infrastructure then who do you listen to and where do you get your information? You have provided nothing but some personal experience. Im sorry but thats simply ridiculous and I think most objective people would agree.
    However, if you insist on talking about personal experience then let me talk about mine since i have travelled all over this globe including China 3 times. I have been to almost every continent and every state in the U.S. I have been to Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America, and Central America. Have you been to China? Travelled in Asia? India? Europe? Ridden their trains? Seen their airports. Have you talked to engineers and infrastructure experts? Attended any infrastructure conventions like i just did this month in New York? I relay my experience not to brag, but to demonstrate that you probably know little about this subject, and are only too willing to spout off simply based on some ideological viewpoint biases.

    i will say it again--you provide absolutely nothing to back up your opinion.
    I am done talking to you about this subject until you present facts and evidence. Goodnight.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 01-27-2011 at 12:24 AM.

  9. #9
    Havakasha is offline
    "One of the chief challenges facing infrastructure is simply age. Much of the nation’s transportation infrastructure was erected in the boom days after World War II and is reaching the end of its life cycle.

    Half of the nation’s bridges were built before 1964, when the ill-fated Minneapolis bridge was constructed. More than half of the bridges in Rhode Island and Massachusetts also are rated deficient or obsolete, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.

    More than a third of the nation’s nearly 83,000 dams already are 50 years old, and within a decade, 60 percent will reach the half-century mark.

    Cast-iron pipes from the 19th century still carry water to sinks in some of the nation’s oldest cities and are overdue to be replaced, according to the American Water Works Association. Although it has not done a state-by-state survey, the association estimates that replacing worn-out water pipes will cost $250 billion over 30 years. In November, Congress overrode President Bush’s veto to authorize up to $23 billion over 15 years for water projects.

    Another worry is that the nation’s growing population is creating a need for more capacity. Today, 246 million cars — 278 percent more than 50 years ago — are forced to squeeze onto 47,000 miles of interstate that have increased only 15 percent during the last half-century.

    New Jersey has the most snarled traffic in the country with congestion choking 58 percent of its urban roads and 52 percent of rural roads, according to an analysis of federal data by The Road Information Project.

    To handle growing transportation needs, the federal highway system will have to double during the next 50 years and public transportation ridership should double within 20 years, according to recommendations from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Railways should be prepared to handle a 63 percent increase in freight by 2035, the association estimated.

    Besides stretching the country’s infrastructure to its limits, the growing population puts more people in harm’s way when something goes wrong. Development in floodplains and below dams has contributed to the fast-rising costs of flood damage, now an annual $6 billion, according to the Association of State Floodplain Managers.


    Dams are a major concern for states, which have regulatory oversight of 85 percent of those structures even though nearly two-thirds are privately owned. The federal government monitors the other 15 percent, mostly major hydro-power generators such as the massive Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.
    Ohio has the highest percentage of dams listed as deficient, with 48 percent, according to data compiled by ASDSO. Indiana is second, with nearly 45 percent of its dams rated in need of repair. States set their own standards for rating dam safety.

    Another challenge is that infrastructure repairs simply aren’t as sexy as ribbon-cuttings. The public and politicians are more likely to support new construction, leaving existing structures wanting, said Pagano, the urban planning expert in Chicago. It’s like buying a car and budgeting only for the purchase price, ignoring the costs of insurance, fuel, oil changes and new tires, he said.

    The Government Performance Project (GPP), which measures how effectively states are managed, called unfunded and deferred maintenance “unquestionably the biggest problem for states in their management of infrastructure.” (The GPP, like Stateline.org, is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.)

    Overall, rehabilitating a dilapidated structure can cost six to 20 times more than routine maintenance would have cost, Deloitte’s analysts found.

    For example, the Minnesota bridge that collapsed last August had been tagged “structurally deficient” in 1990. But the state deferred a $1.5 million steel-reinforcement project scheduled for 2006 and ordered more frequent inspections. The cost to build a new bridge is slated at $250 million.

    States also are skimping on staff to check up on existing structures. Minnesota had 77 bridge inspectors for 14,000 bridges. “There aren’t enough hours in the workday for 77 inspectors to check 14,000 bridges the way we should” with an inspection every two years, Minnesota bridge inspector Bart Andersen testified on Capitol Hill.

    One problem of paying for repairs is that the pot of money for improvements is steadily shrinking in value, if not in size.

    Matthew L. Garrett, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, said that even with a growing number of taxpayers, revenues aren’t keeping pace with the bills. Spending on bricks-and-mortar projects equaled about 2 percent of per-capita personal income in the 1950s and 1960s but has shrunk to less than 1 percent, Garrett said.

    Compounding the problem, prices for steel, concrete and land have grown rapidly in recent years. Road-building costs are projected to increase more than 70 percent between 1993, when federal gas taxes were last increased, and 2015, according to an AASHTO report. The association estimates that federal gasoline taxes would have to rise 10 cents to 28.4 cents per gallon by 2015 just to keep up with maintenance.

    This article was excerpted from “State of the States 2008,” Stateline.org’s annual report on significant state policy developments and trends released Jan. 16."
    Last edited by Havakasha; 01-27-2011 at 12:23 AM.

  10. #10
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havakasha View Post
    Oy vey!
    If you don't believe civil engineers regarding matters of infrastructure then who do you listen to and where do you get your information? You have provided nothing but some personal experience. Im sorry but thats simply ridiculous and I think most objective people would agree.
    However, if you insist on talking about personal experience then let me talk about mine since i have travelled all over this globe including China 3 times. I have been to almost every continent and every state in the U.S. I have been to Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America, and Central America. Have you been to China? Travelled in Asia? India? Europe? Ridden their trains? Seen their airports. Have you talked to engineers and infrastructure experts? Attended any infrastructure conventions like i just did this month in New York? I relay my experience not to brag, but to demonstrate that you probably know little about this subject, and are only too willing to spout off simply based on some ideological viewpoint biases.

    i will say it again--you provide absolutely nothing to back up your opinion.
    I am done talking to you about this subject until you present facts and evidence. Goodnight.
    Well, my travel is not quite extensive as yours; recall that I am a working man whose father sold heating oil for a living.

    But I have been to Europe several times and have ridden the TGV from Paris to Chambery on several occasioins. It's very nice. There was generally plenty of room as not a lot of people where on it. The train station itself was a shithole as is the airport. Narita was no prize either.

    I am not challenging the merits of the Society of Civil engineers. But if you use reason, what do you think they would say?? You missed the point entirely. They are akin to lobbiests - they will say what is in their best interest just as the Society of Plastics Manufacturers will. Lobbiests - those greedy wealth sucking beings that you and Atypical loathe. But I am learning thanks to you. Any group that supports your idealism is good so you latch on to them, and try to deride anyone who poses a question. It is deplorable yet not atypical of your form.

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