Infrastructure: Our Problem

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Thomas Sheffield Sustainability

Do not be distracted.  We have become so obsessed with the lies, misuses of power and rhetoric from the White House we have lost sight of some of the real issues.  America’s infrastructure, which used to be the envy of the world, is falling apart and we have a lot of work to do to put it back together.  Instead of worrying about repeal and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the government needs to worry about repairing and replacing our depleting roads, out of date power grid and crumbling dams.  Scientists anticipate the changing weather patterns associated with climate change will cause an increase in damage to our roads, bridges and dams.  The infrastructure issue is not and should not be a Democratic vs. Republican issue.  A great infrastructure system is tied to a strong economy and will allow it to grow.  Rather than tackle this issue, we are distracted by whether the Trump administration has dealings with Russia.

President Trump was correct when he said he inherited a mess.  But the mess was not with the economy, crime, unemployment, wars, a banking crisis or security or healthcare.  The mess was the infrastructure.  President Obama tried to get Congress to act on the issue but the Republican “Do Nothing” Congress blocked every attempt.  The system is in desperate need of an upgrade.  Our highway system was developed in the 1960’s and our waterways are operating will century old dams.  A recent report for the U.S. Department of Transportation cites $90 billion in unmet transit repair needs.  According to a poll conducted by NBC/Wall Street Journal, Americans say funding for infrastructure projects was second to keeping U.S. jobs from going overseas, on a list of priorities for the Trump administration and this year’s Congress.

The infrastructure issue is recognized by the government here in Tennessee.  Last month, Governor Bill Haslam (R) announced a strategic and comprehensive plan to update the transportation network in Tennessee.  The IMPROVE Act  addresses the need of an upgrade to our infrastructure.  It has been 28 years since Tennessee last raised its gas tax to 21.4 cents per gallon.  It helped to spur an economic growth rate we have had over the last 30 years.  According to the Governor’s office, The IMPROVE ACT would bring $278 million new dollars to the state for projects while limiting the impact on the average Tennessee motorist to approximately $4 a month.   As Tennessee takes the lead, will other states and the Trump administration follow?  We all must keep the pressure on and contact our elected officials to be proactive and not reactive about this issue.  If we wait much longer, the cost will become too high.  Let me know what you think.

Please feel free to contact me thomsustainableconsulting@gmail.com or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff.  #Resist #Wordsactionchange

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