Summertime in America invites us to get outdoors, make lemonade and arrange family trips to the beach. This year, as you take to the roads, rails, skies and waterways, consider how well your infrastructure is working for you, in measures of efficiency, safety and quality. Are we there yet?
If you pay attention, you’ll realize we’re far from it. Tweets and traffic alerts attest to summer fun detoured by accidents, overcrowded highways and storm flooding; all reminders of the high price we pay for our nation’s deficient infrastructure.
It’s getting harder to remember the time when America’s roads, bridges and waterways set the world standard for first-rate infrastructure in the mid-20th century; when our public systems could be counted on for expeditious transport, premium water quality and treatment that improved our rivers and streams. At that time, we were in the fast lane. The U.S. economy was booming, with steady, robust infrastructure investment to keep these assets modern and safe.
As that investment eroded, so did the state of our infrastructure, which has impaired public safety, and our very quality of life. The nation’s economic stagnation points to the greater cost of our infrastructure shortcomings. Not only are we not getting our money’s worth; we remain stuck in the slow lane.