Thursday, September 16, 2010

Man-Made Mayhem

When crumbling, neglected infrastructure leads to gas explosions, bridge collapses, and other disasters.

Policymakers and politicians like to advocate infrastructure spending as an economic boost—most recently President Obama, who on Sept. 6 proposed a $50 billion spending package aimed at roads, rail, and more. Backers say spending on transport and the like is smart because it offers a good return on investment for stimulus and means we’ll be ready for development in the future. But as the Sept. 9 gas-line explosion in a San Francisco suburb shows, fixing our aging infrastructure is arguably as urgent a matter as any. Across the United States and indeed the world, there are worrying signs that our infrastructure isn’t up to the challenges of today, much less tomorrow. Infrastructure advocates are clamoring for any new money to be spent on fixing broken and crumbling infrastructure, rather than miles of new highways. As legislators consider the idea, here are a few of the warning signs. {for short slide show}

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