Aging Infrastructure

Is neglected maintenance putting Americans in danger?


The deadly collapse in August of Minneapolis' Interstate I-35 West bridge over the Mississippi River tragically underscored the condition of the nation's highways, dams, wastewater treatment systems, electrical transmission networks and other infrastructure. Many facilities and systems are 50-100 years old, and engineers say they have been woefully neglected. Decades ago taxpayers, lawmakers and private companies found it relatively easy to ante up the huge sums needed to build vital infrastructure, but money for repairs and maintenance has been far tougher to come by in recent years. Federal and state lawmakers today often prefer to spend public dollars on high-profile convention centers and sports arenas, and anti-tax groups often fight tax hikes or utility-rate increases to pay for maintenance. But now lawmakers are debating whether ...

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