There had been some ongoing issues about the aging infrastructure systems in the US, knowing that many of them are approaching the end of their lifespan.
Many infrastructure management experts are seriously concerned about the current conditions of some significant systems such highways, bridges and water utilities. One study even shows that from about
600,000 bridges in the country, about 40% are about to reach its life expectancy.
Since many of these infrastructure systems are overstretched, so to speak, what do we expect to happen this year 2018? Will there be a substantial change or are we able to see improvements at all?
Based from the budget fact sheet that the Whitehouse released in mid-2017, the Trump administration outlined a plan to develop the country’s infrastructure, setting a target of about $200 billion investment in which was expected to result to around $1 trillion intended for infrastructure spending.
However, infrastructure rehabilitation and political matters just don’t work well together. In a huge country like America, funding for any infrastructure project is obviously not that easy to acquire.
It seems that relying on private sectors for investment to address all the infrastructure system problems is not even the ultimate solution.
Since these major projects such as maintaining and repairing roads, bridges and all the other water utilities are not considered that profitable, attracting private investors could be hard.
The current administration encourages the local government and the states to find effective ways to create their own revenue streams, as the federal infrastructure funding is cut considerably in 2018, according to the article “U.S. Infrastructure in 2018: What May Be on the Horizon.”
The great demand of addressing the infrastructure issues is big. Yet, with the big amount of funding required, raising the country’s revenue is one better solution. But that’s easier said than done.
Economists have several suggestions on how to increase revenue such as increasing the gas tax and fees in using public transport, roads and highways. This is giving the public or the users the opportunity to give their share in maintaining and rehabilitating the infrastructure.
The Trump administration seems to have good plans to improve investments in which will eventually be used to funding infrastructures. Surely, all of these are still to be watched out for. These won’t happen overnight.
America’s infrastructure got a D+ grade in the 2017 Civil Engineers’ Report Card considering all the elements affecting the country’s infrastructure.
Some of the categories graded were bridges, drinking water, hazardous waste, inland waterways, roads and wastewater.
Infrastructure systems in the US have a long way to go in terms of maintenance and renewal. Will it gain
improvements from last year’s rating? Will the current administration be able to address a significant area?
In the meantime, Americans will have to deal with their current infrastructure situation.
Nevertheless, implementing an effective infrastructure asset management plan would be the best way forward in dealing with aging infrastructure systems in the US and any country.