Crumbling Infrastructure

On November 23, 60 Minutes aired a report called “Falling Apart: America’s Neglected Infrastructure.” This report has brought America’s crumbling infrastructure back into the spotlight. 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft traveled the United States to speak to experts and examine the state of our country’s roads and bridges. The cameramen collected images of crumbling bridges, cracked concrete, and corroded support beams. These images shocked many viewers. Most Americans are surprised to learn that America’s infrastructure is falling apart.

For decades, America’s infrastructure was the envy of the entire world. We made massive investments in railroads and the Interstate system, and those investments were paid back a thousand fold in trade, commerce, and a booming economy. In fact, it is reasonable to argue that America’s worldwide economic dominance throughout the second half of the twentieth century was largely a result of the massive investment the American people made in our transportation infrastructure. America’s Interstate system, in particular, is one of the greatest achievements of the modern world – a highway system that knits together a continent and makes it possible to travel freely from one side of the country to the other.

However, despite the initial enthusiasm our nation had for investing in infrastructure, we have since allowed it to deteriorate. Decades of neglect have left us in a situation that is approaching a state of crisis. For generations now, the career politicians and attorneys in Washington, DC have lacked the vision and courage to invest the necessary money in the maintenance of our infrastructure. As a result, many vital roads, bridges, and railroads have decayed to the point where they are now costing the US economy enormous amounts of money, while also becoming increasingly dangerous for people who rely on them for transportation.

In 2007, a 50 year old Interstate bridge over the Mississippi River in Minnesota collapsed during rush hour, injuring 145 people and killing 13. In 2013, an Interstate bridge over the Skagit River in Washington collapsed, miraculously without any injuries. This will only be the beginning of this type of disasters if something is not done to repair and replace these rapidly aging bridges and roads. If we allow America’s infrastructure to continue to deteriorate, we can expect that these kinds of disasters to become more and more common, resulting in tragic and unnecessary loss of life as well as billions of dollars lost from the economy.

The problem here, as is so common in politics, is the refusal to spend the money on something our country so desperately needs. For example, our Interstate system was originally paid for by the gas tax. However, our gas tax has not increased since 1997, and thanks to inflation, is now only worth a third of what it was then. At the same time, the costs of maintenance on our highways have been going up. The revenue from the gas tax is no longer even close to enough to pay for maintenance on our Interstate infrastructure, and the federal Highway Trust Fund is nearly insolvent.

All these politicians in Washington now do not care what happens to America. We need someone who has the courage and political will to stand up to the lobbyists and special interests and who will fight for ALL Americans. Making sure that our nation’s infrastructure is safe and reliable should be one of our government’s top priorities. If I am elected as President, I will make it a priority to ensure that America’s bridges and roads are repaired and brought back to being the envy of the world. If you care about protecting the American economy and American lives, then I urge you to cast your write-in vote for me, Art Drew, in the 2016 Presidential election.