During this holiday weekend, when so many Americans are relying on our roads and bridges to get us across the country to celebrate with our friends and relatives, Ed Schultz took the Republicans to task for refusing to do something about our crumbling bridges and infrastructure.
As Ed noted, the failure of the I-5 Washington bridge is just a symptom of a much wider problem and one that's only going to continue to get worse if the House Republicans don't finally decide that preventing Americans from being killed while driving on our roads matters more than making President Obama look bad.
As we have discussed here time and again as well, since actually fixing and repairing our infrastructure would put Americans back to work and potentially make President Obama look good, Republicans have been blocking what used to be easily passed bipartisan legislation.
President Obama has repeatedly been calling on Congress to approve more spending on infrastructure and as Schultz and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown discussed in the clip below, if we don't get the GOP to quit obstructing on this matter sometime soon, we may not have much of a country left for the next generation. Their hope is that big business finally gets tired enough of it that they start putting the pressure on the Republicans to do something about it.
Here's more from David Cay Johnston on how foolish the Republican's refusal to spend money on infrastructure now has been: Pay to Fix America’s Crumbling Infrastructure Now, or Pay More Later:
We all drive on bridges, overpasses, and viaducts that we assume must be safe because, surely, somebody inspected them and determined that they are safe. We pay taxes so somebody makes sure the bridges and roads are safe, right?
That trust is badly misplaced. For decades, we have been using up our infrastructure faster than we have been replacing it. [...]
More than three-quarters of the 239 heavily used bridges in the nation’s capital are rated structurally deficient or obsolete, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates.
The society gives America’s highway bridges an overall grade of C+.
Six years ago, the I-35 bridge near Minneapolis fell into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people. An Amtrak train clipped another train going the other way in 1996, sending passenger cars into the Hackensack River in New Jersey, because a swivel bridge in use long past its intended life did not align the tracks properly after swinging open to let a ship pass. Luckily, no one died in that entirely avoidable incident.
And it is not just outdated bridges that put lives at risk, as we saw three years ago when a natural-gas pipeline blew up an entire block in a San Francisco, killing eight residents, including a state employee who was investigating whether such aging equipment was safe.
Unless we rebuild and replace our aging infrastructure, it is just a matter of time until we have more such disasters, including another Johnstown Flood. [...]
“We cannot hope to have an A+ economy with a C-level infrastructure,” said James Chae, president of the engineering society’s Seattle section.
A bridge may hold up for decades after its design life is reached. Despite rust, shorn connecting bolts, spalling concrete foundations, and the erosion of its base by flowing water, it may bear the loads from vehicles, winds, and rivers. But as shown by the collapse of the Skagit bridge, which carries 67,000 vehicles each day, a bridge can fail without warning. And that instant may not always be at 7 in the evening when traffic is light. It could be at rush hour.
Close to one in three American highway bridges has surpassed its designed life. One in nine is rated structurally deficient, meaning major repairs or replacement are needed—yesterday. Read on...