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Manhattan Pipe Explosion Symbolizes U.S. Infrastucture Crisis

<p>The steam pipe explosion in Manhattan is the latest evidence of the coming crisis that infrastructure experts have been warning us about for years.</p>
July 20, 2007, 11am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"A burst pipe in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday stirred the anxieties of New Yorkers who have experienced plenty of them since 9/11. But given the decrepit state of the country's urban infrastructure, the debacle could very well have been at a bridge in Boston or a sewer in Philadelphia."

"Urban planning experts say America's older cities are modern-day Pompeiis - within range of volcanoes of infrastructure failures like New York's...Maintaining a sewer system is hardly a sexy political issue, but years of funding neglect and a subsequent lack of maintenance nationwide have left many of the country's engineering systems unprepared to handle future stresses. "We have an aging infrastructure in this country, and we are not doing enough to maintain it and replace it," said Sarah Catz, director of the Center for Urban Infrastructure at University of California-Irvine. "What you saw happen in New York will happen in all types of infrastructures." "

And while many people initially thought of terrorism, the real culprit, writes Rick Perlstein in Tom Paine, is the political neglect of the country's infrastructure.

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Published on Thursday, July 19, 2007 in Time Magazine
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