Dire Outlook for America's Infrastructure

<p>America's infrastructure is struggling, but from where will the funding and political will come to fix it?</p>
January 22, 2008, 6am PST | Nate Berg
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"A third of the country's major roadways are in substandard condition - a significant factor in a third of the more than 43,000 traffic fatalities each year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Traffic jams waste 4 billion hours of commuters' time and nearly 3 billion gallons of gasoline a year, the Texas Transportation Institute calculates."

"Dams, too, are at risk. The number of dams that could fail has grown 134 percent since 1999 to 3,346, and more than 1,300 of those are "high-hazard," meaning their collapse would threaten lives, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) found. More than a third of dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in the last decade."

"'Much of America is held together by Scotch tape, bailing wire and prayers,' said Donald F. Kettl, director of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania."

"Fixing these problems and others threatening the nation's critical infrastructure would cost $1.6 trillion - more than half of the annual federal budget, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates. And that doesn't include what it will cost for new capacity to serve a growing population."

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Published on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 in Stateline
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