Infrastructure in the News: Transit issues escalate, water needs rise

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The past two weeks have been packed with infrastructure crises and attention—as our nation’s water and transit have received both media attention and public scrutiny.

Last week, the nation’s second busiest subway system, the D.C. Metro, shut down for one full day in order to undergo thorough inspection due to electrical malfunctions. CBS reported that Metro identified 26 areas where damaged jumper cables and connector boots exist. The abundance of damaged cables reveal a lack of investment. “We need to invest in our system once and for all. We need to establish the dedicated funding source,” said Jack Evans, Metro chair. While the D.C. metro’s maintenance needs are pressing, this is just one example of transit needs nationwide.

The BART System in San Francisco also experienced service disruptions that led to a flurry of frustrated tweets from users. BART decided to explain that the system, built more than 40 years ago, was not designed to carry the number of passengers who take it today. The Twitter handle went on to highlight the need to increase investment in order to allow the system to function at its best.

Aside from transit woes, our nation’s water infrastructure needs remain in the headlines.  March 22 was World Water Day, where the White House and 150 other institutions pledged more than $5 billion to improve water accessibility and quality across the nation. The recent Flint tragedy reminds us just how important water is to our communities—and yet how fragile our nation’s water infrastructure is. CNBC reported that our water crises goes beyond Flint, and EPA data shows that only nine states are reporting safe levels of lead in their water supply. The Hill reported on the condition of our nation’s water infrastructure, showing how drinking water contamination, water scarcity, and beleaguered ports and waterways make water one of the nation’s most critical issues.

Whether it’s transit or water issues, the common denominator behind these pressing needs is lack of investment. On ABC’s television show “Scandal” Thursday night, character Mellie Grant even made reference to the need to increase investment through the gas tax to #FixTheTrustFund. It is important that all levels of government demonstrate leadership and look for ways to ensure the maximum funding possible for our aging infrastructure nationwide.

 

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