Infrastructure in the News: March 27, 2012
Businessweek: America's Broken Bridges
Every day about 140,000 cars and trucks cross the massive, seven-lane Tappan Zee Bridge connecting the northern suburban counties of New York City. Most drivers have no idea the 57-year-old bridge was designed in such a way that if just one of its structural elements gives way, the whole bridge could fall and send them tumbling into the Hudson River. The same is true for the Pulaski Skyway between Newark and Jersey City, and the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in California, not to mention the Fremont Bridge in Portland, Ore., the Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul, Minn., and thousands of others across the country.
Salon: When engineering fails
As long as humans have been building, they’ve been failing too. Society and civilization, from the first irrigation systems to the Brooklyn Bridge, have been designed by a flawed culture. Sometimes, even with today’s technology, design fails. Bridges collapse, ships sink, apartment buildings crumble. As we build even more daring structures, the likelihood of disaster increases, unless we’re willing to learn from past failures instead of focusing only on past success.
The Hill: Kemper: Education and infrastructure: Rebuilding America (Also posted on Huffington Post)
With the economy on a shaky road to recovery, it has become clear that the Great Recession triggered a fundamental change in the way Americans are forced to operate in the globalized economy. Everyone is feeling the strains. The archetype of the “company man” is fast going extinct, schools and other public services are facing record budget cuts, our infrastructure is antiquated and deteriorating every day, and access to global labor markets has created a flat line in wage increases for the poorest Americans.
Seattle PI: Congressional Study Says Rust is Costing US $50.7 B Yearly
The corroded and leaking pipes are said responsible for about 2.6 trillion gallons loss of water every year. In the United States, that's equal to 17 percent of the total amount of water pumped annually. Based on a congressional study, that is causing US drinking water and wastewater systems about $50.7 billion a year.
Next American City: Rio + 20: What if Transportation is an Afterthought?
The importance of sustainable public transportation in cities cannot be overstated. It is the backbone of any sustainable city. Without it, all of our cities are doomed to inefficiency, and to fail at their other goals of livability, economic prosperity and social justice. We need transportation to get to jobs, to schools, to access any number of opportunities within our cities. And because of the massive infrastructure needed to support transportation, moving toward more low-carbon transit options will make cities more sustainable at a much greater scale and speed.
Politico: Highway bill: House GOP delays vote
House Republican plans to pass a three-month extension of the surface transportation law fell apart Monday as it became clear that the leadership didn't have the votes to move the bill. "We are in the midst of bipartisan conversations about a short-term extension of the highway bill. To facilitate those conversations, the House vote on an extension will occur later this week rather than tonight," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.
The Hill: Tuesday: House tries again on transportation extension
GOP leaders were prepared to vote on the extension Monday, but pulled the bill back as House Democrats said they would oppose it in a bid to get Republicans to pass the Senate-approved highway bill. Because the bill was on the suspension calendar, it needed support from two-thirds of the House, an impossible hurdle to reach without about 50 Democratic votes.
DC Streetsblog: How the House Transpo Extension Hurts the Senate’s Two-Year Bill
Congress has five days in which to pass an extension of transportation funding. That means there will be a flurry of activity on the Hill this week to avoid a shutdown of federal transportation programs on April 1. (It also means there will be a flurry of “April Fools” references directed by and at opposing political parties on the House and Senate floors.)
America has 26,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways.