What Are the Problems Associated with the United States' Aging Infrastructure?

Public Works Resource
August 28, 2012 — 1,263 views  
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An aging infrastructure could present a variety of risks to American citizens. Simply imagine the dangers residents could encounter if a bridge collapses or a steam pipe bursts - the problems could be astronomical for the nation. Unfortunately, some experts note that many systems in the United States appear to be crumbling, which could have serious consequences in the future.

"We have a major infrastructure problem in this country," Maureen McAvey, an executive vice president with the Urban Land Institute, told The New York Times. "The civil engineers have estimated that we have a $1.7 trillion shortfall in this country alone."

CNBC notes that the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the American infrastructure a "D" grade overall. Several problems are associated with the country's aging infrastructure, including the following.

1. Cost

While throwing money at a problem might be considered a good way to resolve it, this is rarely an option. The United States is still recovering from the recession that impacted the nation and its residents in the late 2000s, and may lack the funds necessary to complete renovations.

Economic risks are involved with any project, and investing the resources to complete maintenance projects could be challenging from a legal standpoint. Budgets and plans would likely need to be developed and approved by local and federal government officials, and despite the improvements these endeavors might provide, there could be public backlash due to the expense.

2. Time

Time is usually a factor in many decisions, and it might take a substantial amount of time to make successful improvements to the American infrastructure. However, failing to address these concerns could cause long-term problems.

For example, consider the ramifications if a bridge collapses near a major U.S. city. Residents likely will need to find alternative ways to reach this metro, which could create traffic in other areas. Meanwhile, the metro itself may see noticeable economic decline. Additionally, local officials will need to find immediate support to repair the damaged bridge.

These are just a few of the problems that could arise should such a disaster occur. Time is a critical factor, and developing solutions to possible future infrastructure issues could benefit Americans across the country. 

Public Works Resource