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  • Kerry O'Hare

Infrastructure is Destiny


Infrastructure is destiny. I heard that phrase at a conference I recently attended and thought how profound that simple statement is.


Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy and touches every aspect of our lives from the moment we wake up to when we turn off the lights after a long day. Yet most people go about their daily lives without giving it a second thought...until something goes wrong.


If you've hit a pothole you know how costly repairs to your vehicle can be. According to TRIP, a national transportation research group, driving on roads in need of repair costs the average driver $616 in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.


You also know how disruptive it can be when a water main bursts in your neighborhood leaving you without the ability to shower, brush your teeth or cook. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that a significant water line bursts on average every 2 minutes somewhere in the U.S.


Two decades into the 21st century and America's infrastructure is falling apart and our nation's economic competitiveness is falling behind. Decades of neglect and paltry investment has dropped the economic competitiveness of our transportation infrastructure to number nine in the world. In 2005 we were ranked number one. This is according to the World Economic Forum.


America's roads are clogged with traffic, our trains and buses are filled to capacity and our skies are approaching gridlock. It's no wonder that the American Society of Civil Engineers has graded our infrastructure a D+.


When policymakers punt important funding decisions to another day, we all suffer the consequences as the economy takes a hit and our quality of life declines. We are continually late for important appointments or to see our child's soccer game because we got stuck in traffic. Again. Another community is devastated from flooding when aging levees burst. Our World War II-era air traffic control system can't keep pace with demand and contributes to airport delays.


If you don't want our nation's destiny to be one of aging and unreliable infrastructure, I encourage you to use this 7th annual Infrastructure Week to educate your family, friends and neighbors about the benefits of revitalizing and modernizing our infrastructure. This year the Week of May 13-20 has been designated as the official Infrastructure Week - a national week of advocacy and education that brings together hundreds of businesses, labor organizations, elected officials and people like you to make the case for smart infrastructure investment to get America back to number one.


Ronald Reagan was right when he said: "The bridges and highways we fail to repair today will have to be rebuilt tomorrow at many times the cost." Infrastructure is indeed destiny. Let's not let ours be one of decline and decay. It's time to #BuildforTomorrow!

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