What happened Wednesday in
When I say I worry about infrastructure, I mean I am somewhat obsessed with it. Let me put it this way – when I have nightmares, they star bridges and tunnels. And water supply. But mostly, bridges and tunnels.
Speaking of bridges – somewhere in this country a bridge fails every single week. It might be a wooden bridge over a creek on a gravel road in rural
Four years ago another I-35 bridge failed, that one across the Missouri River in
Last month, a steam-pipe in
Infrastructure costs money. Bridges, tunnels, the electric grid, the levee system – all of these things cost money, and without the infrastructure, it all falls apart.
Infrastructure maintenance is funded by the tax base. When you gut the treasury and cut taxes, infrastructure suffers.
It is no longer my job to stress out about this stuff – now it’s a hobby, I guess, because I can’t just stop giving a shit, and I can’t unring the bell and forget the stuff I know.
It was fun sucking up tax cuts and encouraging the buying of jet skis and SUV’s and cardboard McMansions. But the party’s over. It is time to suck it up, tote the board and start paying taxes at a responsible rate.
Part of that reality we need to deal with is a crumbling infrastructure. Our interstate highway system is 50 years old. I-70 is in such disrepair from KC to St. Louis that some people say that MODOT should just cut their losses and build a whole new I-70 parallel to the one we currently refuse to drive on, it is in such sad shape; I'll take the train across the state, thanks just the same. The average interstate highway bridge was built in the 60's, when our cities were smaller, our population was lower, a lower percentage of that lower population owned cars, and most cargo still moved by train. In short - not only are the bridges 40-50 years old, but they were built for a different demographic and are not standing up at all well to the wear and tear of the traffic loads they bear.
Meanwhile - if you are one of those people who is sustained by fear...go to ASCE.ORG and look at our infrastructure report card. You will find some stuff there to be by-god terrified about.