The U.S. is falling apart.
To prosper and grow, and live safely, the U.S. must start rebuilding the most basic infrastructure of the country.
You cannot leave a country of more than 310 million people unattended for 30 years without dire consequences. But that’s where we’re at. Roads crumble, bridges crack, sewers break, water pollutes. People get hurt or sick.
Problems are everywhere. For years the old ramps on the Chicago Circle Interchange have stalled close to 300,000 vehicles a day, with an estimated 25 million hours in delays per year.
The Industrial Canal Lock in New Orleans is critical to commerce, carrying 20 million tons of cargo a year. But the 87-year-old lock is undersized, and vessels wait 36 hours to navigate it.
As much as 18% of Atlanta’s drinking water was hemorrhaging through leaking pipes, as a recent drought had residents rationing. Estimates are that municipal lines running beneath U.S. streets lose massive volumes of water.
The Robin Hood Tax could raise billions every year to address America’s crumbling infrastructure. These projects could employ millions through direct hiring or as a result of increased demand of suppliers. America’s jobs crisis could be addressed at the same time we desperately play catch up on the country’s declining system of roads, waterways and bridges.
Who leaves behind a mess like this?
It’s 30 years and the clock is ticking. The need to repair and upgrade infrastructure is obvious to all. Way overdue.
Across the nation, in every region, every city, every locale, America is crumbling. An 80-year-old, over-stressed system of levees and spillways on the Mississippi River shut down the country’s greatest river way. Ancient water lines and sewer lines rupture in cities across the country-- the nation’s capital included. Antiquated drainage systems lead to devastating floods and sewage spills.
The U.S. is spending a miniscule 3% of its GDP on infrastructure repair and renewal. While other countries plow ahead with high-speed rail projects, here we are bogged down in debate on its soundness. Meanwhile, interminable lines of car and truck traffic grow longer – their fired-up engines burning fuel and burning out the environment- as the list of cities mired in gridlock gets longer.
At this rate, Americans will start turning to bottled water, if you can afford it, as H2O from the tap becomes unreliable. The roads are a mess: interstates crumbling, urban road ruts and holes the norm, rural road maintenance elusive. Bridges will collapse and not be rebuilt. Try the long way around.
A badly-needed new national electric grid will not be developed. Nor will a state-of-the-art satellite air traffic control system.
In the next 30 years, there will be almost 100 million more people living in the U.S. But the infrastructure will not support them all.
A Robin Hood Tax could start funding infrastructure projects without delay and start rebuilding America so that we do not leave a battered and broken country for the next generation.
And more. Millions of quality jobs in an array of planning, manufacturing and construction for infrastructure would be created, a double dividend given the enduring unemployment, dearth of opportunity for young adults and dead-end, low-pay service jobs that define our economy today.