As noted in many articles and reports, the U.S. infrastructure is in ruins. Many of the roads and bridges were constructed 30 or 40 years ago. Everything wears out in time. 2018 was a year where dozens of people died in gas explosions. In many cases, these were the result of underground gas lines simply being rusted and worn out. As with the roads and bridges, these lines have been in use for over 50 years. It’s time for an overhaul.
In Nebraska, a recent State Highway Needs Assessment report shows that the roads and bridges throughout the state need massive improvements. This is most likely true in all states that get heavy snowfall each year. The process of water freezing and then thawing adds considerably to the wear and tear on America’s roads and bridges. It even undermines the soil consistency causing avalanches and mud slides.
America’s Need for Infrastructure Updates
Many states need to address these issues, but there just isn’t money in the budget for it. Nebraska DOT director Kyle Schneweis has laid out a 20-year plan to upgrade roads and bridges throughout the state. Since this is such a big job, it probably makes sense to schedule the repairs over a longer period like this. This will help spread the cost out and be easier on road crews.
The cost is estimated to be around $12.5B and the money will come in various ways according to lawmakers. The state is planning a $300 billion “Rebuild America Bonds” program where bonds will be sold to public and private pension funds. Some funding will come from state and local governments. Of course, everything must be approved by lawmakers.
Nebraska has mapped out a plan to address the infrastructure repairs:
- $3.6 billion toward capital improvements of roadway expansion and grade separations.
- $7.1 billion toward asset preservation, including $6.4 billion toward pavement and bridge preservation.
- $1.8 billion to modernize roadways, bridges, rail crossings and rural transit.
All States Need Repairs
Many other states are considering large, long-term projects like this to rebuild America’s eroding infrastructure. For instance, Tennessee has just released a report that says the state is in desperate need of $15.6B to renovate their water infrastructure. Aging sewer and drinking water systems throughout the state will require massive repairs estimated to require about 23 years to complete.
Another $4.1 billion is expected to be needed just to keep up with the population growth across the state. Wastewater components like pipes, tanks and pumps have a lifespan of about 30 years and most were built in the 70’s. That means that most water treatment plants are way overdue for renovation.
The population in America is growing too. Nashville is home to country music and thousands of people move into the area each year. This has put a definite strain on city and local governments striving to provide stable city services for all residents. Other popular cities like Las Vegas, Houston, NYC, Los Angeles and Dallas are struggling with these same issues.
During 2019, many other states are expected to complete reports on their state’s infrastructure needs with an outline of the cost and expected time period. This will not be an easy or cheap task, but it is a very necessary one. Each year, Americans die due to defective bridges and worn out roads.
Eroding Gas Lines
As mentioned, the gas lines buried under nearly every city in America are eroding. They will need to be replaced soon or we could see a continuation of the deadly gas explosions witnessed in the past. America’s big gas companies have been slower to address their aging infrastructure because the cost of repairs will be the responsibility of each company with very little financial help coming from state and local governments.