State’s Infrastructure Is Falling Apart
Analysis gives C and D grades to roads, bridges, dams, ports, transit, drinking water and more.
Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers inherited a polarized political environment. And, he shares power with a dysfunctional GOP-led legislature, disinterested in addressing long-term costly challenges. The Wisconsin Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers issued a 2020 Report Card for Wisconsin’s infrastructure. The overall GPA is only a C (“mediocre requires attention”). The specifics are damning.
Roads earned a D+: “More than one-third of these roads are in fair or below condition and deterioration is likely to continue over the next 10 years. …Deficient roads cost drivers $6 billion annually due to wear and tear on vehicles, wasted fuel due to congestion and the overall cost of crashes on roadways.”
Dams earn a C+: “Nearly 200 dams are considered ‘high hazard’ meaning loss of life would be probable should the dam fail. The annual (state) budget for dam safety is approximately $750,000 per year … . However, increased resources are needed to ensure public safety and minimize economic impact from future dam failures.”
Drinking water earns a C-: Wisconsin “must contend with aging water treatment and distribution systems … . Lead, bacteria, nitrates, (PFAS – toxic chemicals), arsenic and radium are some of the water quality concerns … . It is estimated that $8.6 billion will be needed to address infrastructure deficiencies over the next two decades… . Increased investment in drinking water infrastructure is needed (for) safe and reliable water supply for future generations.”
The Report Card also grades airports C+, energy B, hazardous waste B-, inland waterways C-, ports C+, solid waste B-, stormwater C, transit D+ and wastewater C-. Other infrastructure problems such as access to high-speed internet (broadband expansion), housing, public schools and universities need a spotlight too. Deficiencies are common in both rural and urban areas. Presidential leadership is needed to highlight and resolve these long-standing infrastructure needs.
Millions of well-paying jobs will be created to rebuild our infrastructure, mitigate climate change impact and bring all Americans into the twenty-first century. Biden pays for his plan by increasing the corporate tax rate, closing tax loopholes and making certain all profitable corporations pay for their use of infrastructure. Biden said: “We can do this. We have to do this. We will do this. … This is the United States of America.”
This column was originally published by Wispolitics.com.
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