Friday, September 21, 2012

21 Facts About America's Decaying Infrastructure That Will Blow Your Mind

Michael Snyder, Contributor
Activist Post

You can tell a lot about a nation by the condition of the infrastructure. So what does our infrastructure say about us? It says that we are in a very advanced state of decay. At this point, much of America is being held together with spit, duct tape and prayers. Our roads are crumbling and thousands of our bridges look like they could collapse at any moment. Our power grid is ancient, and over a trillion gallons of untreated sewage is leaking from our aging sewer systems each year. 

Our airports and our seaports are clogged with far more traffic than they were ever designed to carry. Approximately a third of all of the dam failures that have taken place in the United States since 1874 have happened during the past decade. Our national parks and recreation areas have been terribly neglected and our railroads are a bad joke. Hurricane Katrina showed how vulnerable our levees are, and drinking water systems all over the country are badly outdated.

Sadly, at a time when we could use significant new investment in infrastructure, our spending on infrastructure is actually way down. Back during the 1950s and the '60s, the U.S. was spending between 3 and 4 percent of GDP on infrastructure. Today, that figure is down to about 2.4 percent. But of course we don't have any extra money to spend on infrastructure because of our reckless spending and because of the massive amount of debt that we have accumulated.

While the Obama administration is spending more than half a million dollars to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop, our national infrastructure is literally falling apart all around us. Once upon a time nobody else on the planet could match our infrastructure, and now we are in the process of becoming a joke to the rest of the world.

The following are 21 facts about America's failing infrastructure that will blow your mind....

#1 The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America's crumbling infrastructure an overall grade of D.

#2 There are simply not enough roads in the United States today. Each year, traffic jams cost the commuters of America 4.2 billion hours and about 2.8 million gallons of gasoline.

#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.

#10 There are 4,095 dams in the United States that are at risk of failure. That number has risen by more than 100 percent since 1999.

#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.
#17 Today, the U.S. spends about 2.4 percent of GDP on infrastructure. Meanwhile, China spends about 9 percent of GDP on infrastructure.

#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?

Well, one of the big problems is that we have become a very materialistic society that is obsessed with short-term thinking. Investing in infrastructure is something that has long-term benefits, but these days Americans tend to only be focused on what is happening right now and most politicians are only focused on the next election cycle.

Another major problem is that there is so much corruption and waste in our system these days. The government certainly spends more than enough money, but very little of that money is spent wisely. A lot of the money that could be going toward rebuilding our infrastructure is being poured down the toilet instead.

For much more on this, please read my previous article entitled "16 Sickening Facts That Show How Members Of Congress And Federal Workers Are Living The High Life At Your Expense".

Unfortunately, it is probably appropriate that our infrastructure is decaying because we are decaying in just about every other way that it is possible for a society to decay.

We are decaying economically, politically, mentally, emotionally, physically, morally and spiritually.

We are a complete and total mess. So why shouldn't what is happening to our infrastructure on the outside match what is happening to us as a nation on the inside?

And sadly, we simply do not have the money that we need for infrastructure because of all the debt that we have piled up. The federal government, our state governments and our local governments are all struggling to stay afloat in an ocean of red ink, and unfortunately that means that spending on infrastructure is likely to be cut even more in the years ahead.

So get used to rotting, crumbling, decaying infrastructure. What you see out there right now is only just the beginning.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


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Anonymous said...

Americas problem is war.

Better spending money on why chimps throw poop than killing brown people for oil.

Anonymous said...

But gee, what is the solution? I would say government stimulus in the form of underwriting the renovation of America's collapsing infrastructure, and yet this website seems ENTIRELY devoted to badmouthing gov't solutions and advancing TeaParty/Ayn Randian poison. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, unless of course you like Mittwit and the nincompoops. And too bad Obama is also Wall Street's house servant!

Anonymous said...

Traveling in other countries I realized that buses in Mexico are cleaner and more efficiently run than Amtrak in US. The Amtrak trains are incredibly dirty, the seats designed to be uncomfortable, the appearance epitomizes the word DRAB, and the food service is pathetic, and if you upgrade to a small sleeper, the cost is more than double that of flying by plane. In Europe, trains come with various classes of travel, so a first class train ride is in a comfortable and clean seat. In Mexico, food service is provided down the BUS aisle and the food is better than on Amtrak. With all the US subsidies to Amtrak (and no competition) they get away with charging exorbitant rates for the worst service imaginable.

Anonymous said...

Remember how Republicans blocked the Jobs bill proposed by Obama, which would directly address the infrastructure you mention?

What's this "we simply do not have the money that we need for infrastructure because of all the debt?" We're in debt due to mismanagement by public officials -- and the fact that we are being robbed.

America is not broke -- we are being robbed. Rebuild the Dream organization is attempting to change the conversation so that the masses know how we are being robbed by tax-dodging millionaires and billionaires, many of whom benefit from government tax breaks and other forms of corporate welfare.

As two other commenters suggested above:

Stop all of the warmongering and place infrastructure at the top of the budget
AND stop trying to have it both ways. Being against government interventions will not solve the problems.

Anonymous said...

The "you can't have it both ways" anony also wants it two ways. Political correctness calls for directing government money to so-called minority contractors, for treating Israeli contractors the same as domestic, and for accepting bids even from China. Government spending systematically extracts the wealth of the American people and redirects it to people perceived as more deserving. Even contracts that appear domestic mostly go to creating billionaires with no trickle down unless you count the Filipino maids and Mexican gardeners. The logical end of that gravy train has been reached. We, the people the Left loves to hate, are broke.

If spending money on government run programs was the answer, we'd all be rich by now. To echo Ford, your employees need to be able to afford the product you sell. Political correctness demands ignoring the fact that America, majority of whom were white, have been systematically removed from being able to afford their own product. Unforeseen consequence: we can't pay taxes either.

The corruption of outright political bribery. globalization and the wars are the biggest factors, but any government spending program will be co-opted by monied special interests, guaranteeing the program will not deliver as advertised. Until government (and finance and incorporation) is made a servant of its people again, there is nothing to be gained from giving them money and mandates. Look at HUD, ACA, the Big Dig, Chicago, education or the various "wars" such as on drugs and poverty. No wonder some don't want to give them another nickel.


We are like a piniata and all of the wall street bankers and oligarchs are beating us with sticks until there is nothing left. It's as simple as that. The debt is all stolen money that we presumably owe to the Federal Reserve and we get absolutely 0 for our best interests. When the piniata is empty we will be discarded like paper and burned. At least this is there outlook. They don't consider us sustainable and it shows.

Anonymous said...

The largest problem is not that there are not enough roads. It's that public transportation is inadequate. The future of the Country Ironically was set in motion 60 some years ago and run like a bad algo-rhythm without correction.

It's sad to make the comparison but the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabit" come pretty close with the psychopaths dream to run a highway through tune town a destroy happy place that takes place in the 40's. The Antagonist the pscyhopath murderer who framed the Rabit wanted to just create roadways, gas stations, and suburbs. Looks like the movie was wrong, because in reality we didn't stop the psychopath oligarchs who orchestrated this nightmare coming to ahead.

evilvampireobamagolemVSevilkoshercyborgromneyzombie said...

"it would take 2.2 trillion dollars over the next 5 years just to repair our existing infrastructure".

On 9.10.01 mr rumsfeld stated to american people that "$2,300,000,000,000 had gone missing from he pentagon"

how bout we lock up rummy and torture him until he tells what happened to it? we'd have $100,000,000,000 left over just from the pentagons corruption alone!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's build more roads so we can continue having too many children so in 20 more years the roads we built can't sustain the population again. While we're at it, we should just pave the entire world and completely say "F*** YOU!" to nature all together.

INFRASTRUCTURE! INFRASTRUCTURE! INFRASTRUCTURE!! It's what you need for "PROGRESS", right? Since these ill-fated ambitions for progress is what's gotten into this f***ing mess.

How about talk about how all of these idiots who sit in traffic are sitting in traffic so they can go no where? How can I feel bad for a bunch of morons who want to go to jobs that shouldn't even exist in the first place? All of these people doing all these things we don't need.

The price system we live on is broken. But I'll let all you morons think we can just keep living lives of planned obsolescence.

Fred said...

"how bout we lock up rummy and torture him until he tells what happened to it?"
How about we just lock up the pentagon comptroller at the time Rabbi Dov Zakhim and water board him until he gives up the names. I totally agree with the plan you just wont get any information with your choice of person.

Anonymous said...

Easy fix. Turf the FED and its pentagon. Plenty of money for everything

Herbert Scornwaffles said...

Read on who Molloch(or Molech)was and is. That is George H.W.Bush's name at the Skull and Bones Society.
A renewal of the Conservation Corps dedicated to infrastructure paid with greenbacks is in order.

Dave Phillips said...

Solutions are available, the most obvious is government stimulus packages for nation building, this helped Australia from 2008 onwards, when we stayed solvent because we did focus on infrastructure, the down side is the borrowing for capital costs, even worse I suppose would be doing nothing. The harder solutions involve, going back to isolationist policies, staying home and not going to war at the drop of a hat. Local holidays and tourism instead of going overseas, and the hardest of all, going without, changing the mindset from I must have the iPhone 5, when your old iPhone 4 is still just as serviceable and will do what you need.

Anonymous said...

No the Money is not being poured down the toilet, it is being spent on military adventurism and wars of Destruction all over the world, in 2010 "we" spent 994 billion dollars on the Military or 94% of all the taxes that the IRS raked in that year.

Why the political correctness ? why cant you call a spade a spade?
By the way can anybody tell me exactly what are we doing in Afghanistan- apart from Guarding Kharzai's poppy fields that is?

Anonymous said...

"While economic textbooks claim that people and corporations are competing for markets and resources, I claim that in reality they are competing for money - using markets and resources to do so. Greed and fear of scarcity are being continuously created and amplified as a direct result of the kind of money we are using. For example, we can produce more than enough food to feed everybody, and there is definitely enough work for everybody in the world, but there is clearly not enough money to pay for it all. In fact, the job of central banks is to create and maintain that currency scarcity. Money is created when banks lend it into existence. When a bank provides you with a $100,000 mortgage, it creates only the principal, which you spend and which then circulates in the economy. The bank expects you to pay back $200,000 over the next 20 years, but it doesn't create the second $100,000 - the interest. Instead, the bank sends you out into the tough world to battle against everybody else to bring back the second $100,000." - Bernard Lietaer, former Central Banker (Belgium)

"You see, a legitimate government can both spend and lend money into circulation, while banks can only lend significant amounts of their promissory bank notes, for they can neither give away nor spend but a tiny fraction of the money the people need. Thus, when your bankers here in England place money in circulation, there is always a debt principal to be returned and usury to be paid. The result is that you have always too little credit in circulation to give the workers full employment. You do not have too many workers, you have too little money in circulation, and that which circulates, all bears the endless burden of unpayable debt and usury. In the colonies, we issue our own paper money. It is called 'Colonial Scrip'. We issue it in proper proportion to make the goods pass easily from the producers to the consumers. In this manner, creating ourselves our own paper money, we control it's purchasing power and we have no interest to pay to anyone." - Benjamin Franklin, speaking at the London Parliament

"The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters, had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created great unemployment and dissatisfaction. Within a year, the poor houses were filled. The hungry and homeless walked the streets everywhere. The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the International Bankers was probably the Prime reason for the Revolutionary War." - Benjamin Franklin, as quoted from his autobiography

Anonymous said...

We pay more for ISrael's defense then Israel pays for it itself. Enuff said!

Anonymous said...

Time to bring back the WPA and put Americans back to work rebuilding America. Oh yeah, idiots keep electing Repukicons to undermine all help to American workers.

Just one more reason I will NEVER vote Republican again in my lifetime. I think government is required. I want to see American workers unionize for better pay and benefits just like they did when things were good. Union busting by Republicans for over 30 years has brought our pay down and taken away our benfits and pensions. Only retarded people would want to make less so the CEO can pocket more money than ever before.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, relax already! It's all in the plan!
What plan?
The Frankfurt School Plan!
This plan provides for the moral and spiritual and economic degradation of the host nation; ( and host is a word used advisedly ).
jews are parasites, they get their money by causing other people to work! It's a good plan! Forget all that "Arbeit Macht Frei" nonsense foisted onto the jews by their worst goyische nightmare, Adolf Hitler. The goyim will do the work! Infect their insect brains with the powerful neurotoxin called Fed Notes, and they will do anything for you! Oy vey, it's poyfict!
When they are totally destroyed, simply use your dual passport rights to escape back to the Homeland they created for you, and from there, off we go again to another host! Infect the government with "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky, a communist agitator who dedicated his book to Lucifer, and which the great President of the US of A uses as his playbook, and you're home and dry! One step closer to jew heaven, a world owned and ruled and coerced by them, under the draconian precepts of the Noahide Laws.
What's not to like?

Anonymous said...

I like how this website is shocked, SHOCKED by crumbling infrastructure but uses the rest of their articles promoting neo-libertarian 'drown government in the bath tub' economics.

The US government is not to disappear anytime soon (despite all the Tea Party wet dreams) , we either force it to spend money on the common good (socialism - which has nothing to do with Obama's policies) or we simply surrender to corporations and bankers who take all of North America's amazing wealth overseas (neo-libertarism/Austrian school).

Libertarianism is just the polar opposite of Communism - both 'All state'/'No state' are just suicidal pipe-dreams.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:41AM - Force it to spend money on the common good?

There is going to be a time when our government isn't going to have money to spend on much of anything except INTEREST PAYMENTS on the ESCALATING DEBT the US government is racking up. If interest rates are not kept artificially low, you will see payments take over more than 50% of all revenue coming in to the US government. There won't be money left for anything else except SS, Medicare and Medicaid. When this happens, you will see the US government spiral down into chaos because the people will revolt once their benefits peter out.

Anonymous said...

I do not view Michael's article as running down the USA. To the contrary, he is simply stating facts and alerting the American people about it. With roads, bridges and dams in bad need of repair, this could in a national emergency, result in chaos with disastrous consequences. It is not just America that is in such a poor state, it is occurring globally. However, where some poorer countries have simply had to shelve repairs due to the global economic situation, the US has the money, but unfortunately Obama has not lived up to any of the grand promises he made to Americans. Just like people in many third world countries, Americans too, can no longer trust their government but must follow the example of their foreign brothers and sisters abroad, who throw their toys out of their cots until demands for service delivery is met, although it may in some instances take a year or more for it to happen. So yes Americans will have to add to their own home agendas, the care of their country and make themselves conversant with how and on what their tax is spent. We need to sit on these big shots in government of whom many are actual thieves. Time they realize they are employed by and serve the people and if they don't do it well, they will be held accountable or fired!

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