The Stream

Can failing infrastructure be bad for your health?

We discuss crumbling roads and bridges in the US and how they can hurt more than your wallet.

The United States was once a world leader in infrastructure development and maintenance. But, today, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that more than $4 trillion is needed by 2025 to bring current infrastructure into a state of good repair. So just how dire is the situation? The ASCE gave the US an overall grade of a D+ – a rating considered “poor” and “at risk”, just one step above unfit for purpose.

Failing infrastructure has real on effects on ordinary people. Over time, goods become more expensive to produce and transport. That leads to businesses becoming more inefficient, costs rising and productivity falling.  The average American driver already spends more than $300 per year in car repairs due to damage caused by poor roads. It can even be bad for your health. Communities of colour face some of the highest risks to their health and well-being due to failing infrastructure and environmental injustices.

One of US President Donald Trump’s key campaign promises was to fix this crumbling infrastructure. But six months into the job he has yet to unveil a complete plan, and the issue remains stalled behind health care, tax reform, immigration and other items on the legislative agenda.

We’ll discuss the cost of failing infrastructure in the United States and what’s being done to address the situation.

On this episode, we speak with:

Tom Smith @ASCETweets
Executive Director, American Society of Civil Engineers 

Barry LePatner @barrylepatner 
Author, “Too Big to Fall: America’s Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward” 

John Nichols @NicholsUprising 
Author, “Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse”
Political correspondent, The Nation Magazine

Tanvi Misra @tanvim
Staff writer, CityLab 

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.