A five minute ride in my passenger seat during my work day would convince anyone that our infrastructure is in need of some serious help. I can only attest to road conditions in Northeastern Oklahoma, but a quick search leads to reports of the infrastructure crumbling throughout the country.
Infrastructure being a broad term that consists of roads, bridges, tunnels, rail lines, dams, buildings, water supply, sewage removal, electricity and communication networks to name a few.
With infrastructure being such a catch all and with as many politicians to disagree on how to solve the problems as there are problems to address, it's maddening to find practical solutions to fix the problems that desperately need to be fixed.
Raising taxes is often the key to funding the projects that improve our infrastructure. Politicians find themselves in the dilemma of appeasing their constituents opting not to raise taxes, but rather "kick the can down the road" until there is no other choice than to fix a component that has failed. More often than not, it gets a band-aid rather than a permanent solution.
The American Society of Civil Engineers just this year gave the U.S. a C-Minus for the state of infrastructure across the nation. Their findings include 43 percent of U.S. roads and Highways were in "poor to mediocre" condition. 46,000 of the nation's bridges were in such poor condition it would take more than fifty years to restore or replace them. The levees and stormwater systems protecting many communities from flooding earned a D in their report.
Public transit earned a D-Minus with one in five transit vehicles and six percent of tracks, tunnels and other facilities in poor condition.
The nation's drinking water systems lose enough water each day to fill over 9,000 swimming pools even though 12,000 miles of water pipes are being replaced each year.
Our electricity grid fared better but is still dangerously vulnerable to inclement weather.
Without safe and effective infrastructure, the private sector can't move goods, materials or services to locations they need to be. The general public would also be unable to get to and from work, school, shopping, medical care, social activities and entertainment.
It's hard to imagine anything more critical to a thriving modern economy than a safe and effective infrastructure. All components of everyday life ebb and flow throughout all facets of our infrastructure systems.
A potential return of investment greater than the costs of repairs suggests that the U.S. can and should rebuild its infrastructure.
President Biden's massive infrastructure deal does not appear on the surface to be a solution to the problem. The spending is weak at best on actual infrastructure projects. Just $115 billion of the $2.3 trillion is for improvement of roads, highways, bridges and other traditional public works. While only $42 billion is for the airways, waterways and ports.
The infrastructure bill appears to be more of a guise to usher in and advance The Green New Deal. $600 billion is dedicated strictly to that.
We're talking about really big numbers, but when you break it down, 6 percent of the money in the bill would be allocated to the actual infrastructure while 94 percent or the rest of the money would go to the pay off of labor unions, job killing regulations and of course, their Green New Deal mandates.
The politicians appear to continue "kicking the can down the road" as they argue over some of the absurdities of the Green New Deal.
Removing politicians from anything infrastructure related and replacing them with engineers seems to be the only viable solution for long term improvements that will meet our needs and demands in the future.
Our focus has been lost somewhere and our infrastructure is too vital to our overall well being to continue to go on in such a state of disrepair.
Devin Gordon is a Tahlequah business owner.