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America’s Failing Infrastructure

by Megan Woods

It’s that time of year again. Roadwork sprouts up faster than the springtime daffodil. It’s also that time to view the multiple complaints of pothole and sinkhole locations throughout the state while scrolling through the Facebook feed.

America’s infrastructure seems like a day-to-day item that we’ve come to accept to not be perfect. But do we really need it to be perfect? Not really, but it at least needs to rate a “C” on the American Society of Civil Engineers, instead of a listed majority of “D” grades.

I mean, as a student I’m graded on an A to F scale, and a “D” rating is never a passing grade, or even barely acceptable. So, why should a “D+” for our infrastructure be considered good enough for our political leaders’ upkeep of our infrastructure?

We had an increase of $54 billion for our military spending while our current president suggested a meager $1 trillion to spend on our infrastructure. Our country needs another $2.6 trillion to fix our infrastructure by 2020 according to a 2013 report card by ASCE.

Traveling the vast landscape that is West Virginia, I can personally agree to the unnecessary swerve to miss the increasingly occasional pothole or wannabe sinkhole on the main roads as well as in the hollows.

The Westmoreland Bridge has been classified as a four on a nine-point scale so why aren’t we, as a state funding more into our infrastructure?

Boone, Clay, Kanawha and Putnam counties run on less than $1 million a year to use on their infrastructure repairs and upgrades. Poor funding results in increasing damage on roads as well as our vehicles.

Pothole damage causes misalignment, bent rims, as well as tire punctures according to Completely Firestone.

According to the Infrastructure Report Card that is released every four years, our country needs to invest $3.6 trillion into infrastructure just to maintain it and not begin necessary upgrades.

There are 944 bridges in West Virginia that are classified as structurally deficit. Also 12% of the 4,050 major roads are in poor condition. If that just makes you shrug, nine sites are part of the national priority list for cleanup of toxic chemicals such as TNT components and tetrachloroethylene, which is a carcinogenic waste product that primarily originates from the dry cleaners.

Investing even $1.3 billion in infrastructure could add at least 29,000 jobs and reduce the national deficit by $200 million. The proposed bill could, according to Forbes, add over 27 million jobs over a five-year period.

Infrastructure is important as a country for jobs and is even important for the average person to get to their locations, whether it is shopping, work, or school.

I believe that if we can support a suggested bill that could help our country not only internally, but help the individual person that has been stuck in the unemployment percentage for a while is nothing but good for the country.

By contacting our local senators, representatives or anyone in state government would show that we do care about our country and our state. Let’s show some mountaineer pride through our actions as well as our words and representation.

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