Friday, September 9, 2011

As Bridges, Roads And Water Systems Crumble, GOP Remain Opposed To Infrastructure Investment

I35 bridge in Minnesota that was rated "structurally deficient"
President Obama’s plan to kick start the economy and put the American people back to work includes investing in the nation’s rapidly deteriorating roads, bridges and public water and sewer utilities. Studies show that America's public infrastructure is in critical need of as much as $2 trillion in immediate repair and replace just to keep it from crumbling in decay.

In the past, Republicans have agreed that infrastructure improvements are needed, but they remain opposed to federal spending on America's roads, bridges and water supply systems that Pres. Obama continues to prioritize. Republicans have chosen to ignore the nation’s infrastructure and jobs crises, in their demand to slash government spending while giving big tax breaks to multinational corporations, who use America's infrastructure earn record profits.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, about 12 percent of the nation’s bridges are considered “structurally deficient,” the same rating given to the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people. Roughly another 12 percent are considered “functionally obsolete.” In four of the states represented by Republican congressional leadership, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Arizona and California the rate of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges outpaces the national average.

Roads, bridges and public water and sewer utilities in Texas also need attention, not to mention that Texas could use a few more water reservoirs.

Top Three Texas Infrastructure Concerns according to the American Society of Civil Engineers:

  1. Roads and Bridges
  2. Drinking Water
  3. Waste Water

Key Infrastructure Facts

  • 22% of Texas’ bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
  • There are 888 high hazard dams in Texas. A high hazard dam is defined as a dam whose failure would cause a loss of life and significant property damage.
  • 103 of Texas’ 7,478 dams are in need of rehabilitation to meet applicable state dam safety standards.
  • 84% of high hazard dams in Texas have no emergency action plan (EAP). An EAP is a predetermined plan of action to be taken including roles, responsibilities and procedures for surveillance, notification and evacuation to reduce the potential for loss of life and property damage in an area affected by a failure or misoperation of a dam.
  • Texas’ drinking water infrastructure needs an investment of $28.17 billion over the next 20 years.
  • Texas ranked 2nd in the quantity of hazardous waste produced and 4th in the total number of hazardous waste producers.
  • Texas’ ports handled 487 million tons of waterborne traffic in 2005, ranking it 1st in the nation.
  • Texas reported an unmet need of $31.2 million for its state public outdoor recreation facilities and parkland acquisition.
  • 32% of Texas’ major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • 47% of Texas’ major urban highways are congested.
  • Vehicle travel on Texas’ highways increased 50% from 1990 to 2007.
  • Texas has $5.64 billion in waste water infrastructure needs.

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