The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

U.S. infrastructure gets bad grades

Jun 6, 2005

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the country's infrastructure a D grade in its 2005 Report Card for America's infrastructure. That's even worse than the D+ grade it gave in 2001.

According to the engineers, the nation's water is not safe, the sewer lines are decrepit, and several thousand dams are in dangerous shape. They indicated that the roads and mass transit systems are getting worse, with the average driver spending $275 per year in repairs related to bad roads. One in three urban bridges are "structurally deficient or functionally obsolete."They also pointed out that electrical transmission capacity is decreasing in the face of increased demand and that less and less is being done to clean up toxic waste sites.

Of course, the civil engineers may have their own ax to grind – they'd like to see more jobs for engineers. But everyone has seen or heard about the results of the crumbling infrastructure – cement falling from bridges onto people's cars, sinkholes caving in due to collapsing sewer pipes, not to mention the electrical blackout of August 2003 that impacted a huge portion of the country. Detroiters were recently surprised to read that Detroit's roads were not the worst in the country. They came in ahead of at least 25 other cities, despite the fact that 33% of the area's roads were reported to be in poor shape and another 38% are mediocre!

Infrastructure is one of the things that distinguishes a developed country from an underdeveloped one. That so much is in decay in the U.S. today is a mark that the society itself is going backwards. It's not that there isn't money to pay for improving things, it's where the money is going instead – for tax breaks to the corporations and wars against the rest of the world's populations.