October 10, 2012. All across America, roads, bridges, power grids and other components of our nation’s vital infrastructure are disintegrating faster than we can afford to repair or replace them. The sobering statistics about the number of unsafe bridges alone causes one to wonder why more isn’t being done to fix the problem. Below are 21 additional facts you may not be aware of about America’s crumbling infrastructure.
America's crumbling infrastructure. Image courtesy of The Economic Collapse Blog.
21 Facts about America’s decaying Infrastructure that will Blow your Mind
#1 The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America's crumbling infrastructure an overall grade of D.
#3 It is being projected that Americans will spend an average of 160 hours stuck in traffic annually by the year 2035.
#4 Approximately one-third of all roads in the United States are in substandard condition.
#5 Close to a third of all highway fatalities are due "to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards."
#6 One out of every four bridges in America either carries more traffic than originally intended or is in need of repair.
#7 Repairing all of the bridges in the United States that need repair would take approximately 140 billion dollars.
#8 According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, our decaying transportation system costs the U.S. economy about 78 billion dollars annually in lost time and fuel.
#9 All over America, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel roads because they are cheaper to maintain. The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt roads into gravel roads, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.
#11 Of all the dam failures that have happened in the United States since 1874, a third of them have happened during the past decade.
#12 Close to half of all U.S. households do not have access to bus or rail transit.
#13 Our aging sewer systems spill more than a trillion gallons of untreated sewage every single year. The cost of cleaning up that sewage each year is estimated to be greater than 50 billion dollars.
#14 It is estimated that rolling blackouts and inefficiencies in the U.S. electrical grid cost the U.S. economy approximately 80 billion dollars a year.
#15 It is being projected that by the year 2020 every single major container port in the United States will be handling at least double the volume that it was originally designed to handle.
#16 All across the United States, conditions at many of our state parks, recreation areas and historic sites are deplorable at best. Some states have backlogs of repair projects that are now over a billion dollars long....
More than a dozen states estimate that their backlogs are at least $100 million. Massachusetts and New York's are at least $1 billion. Hawaii officials called park conditions "deplorable" in a December report asking for $50 million per year for five years to tackle a $240 million backlog that covers parks, trails and harbors.
#18 In the United States today, approximately 16 percent of our construction workers are unemployed.
#19 China has plans to build 55,000 miles of highways by the year 2020. If all of those roads were put end to end, it would be longer than the total length of the entire U.S. interstate system.
#20 The World Economic Forum ranks U.S. infrastructure 23rd in the world, and we fall a little bit farther behind the rest of the developed world every single day.
#21 It has been projected that it would take 2.2 trillion dollars over the next 5 years just to repair our existing infrastructure. That does not even include a single penny for badly needed new infrastructure.
‘So where did we go wrong?’ the author asks. Their answer is that Americans have become a ‘materialistic society that is obsessed with short-term thinking’. We would tend to agree.
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