11 Deeply Alarming Facts About America's Crumbling Infrastructure

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

No matter what your particular political perspective is, if there is one thing that virtually everyone in the United States can agree upon it is the fact that America’s infrastructure is crumbling

Previous generations of Americans conquered an entire continent and erected the greatest system of infrastructure that the world had ever seen, but now thousands upon thousands of those extremely impressive infrastructure projects are decades old and in desperate need of repair or upgrading.  The near catastrophic failure of the Oroville Dam is a perfect example of what I am talking about.  We should be constructing the next generation of infrastructure projects for our children and our grandchildren, but instead we are in such sorry shape that we can’t even keep up with the maintenance and upkeep on the great infrastructure projects that have been handed down to us.

Once upon a time nobody on the entire planet could even come close to matching our infrastructure, but now our crumbling infrastructure has become a joke to much of the rest of the industrialized world.  Sadly, this is just another symptom of our long-term economic collapse.  We simply are not able to put as much of our money toward infrastructure as previous generations of Americans did, and as a result we have a giant mess on our hands.  The following are 11 deeply alarming facts about America’s crumbling infrastructure…

#1 According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, nearly 56,000 bridges in the United States are currently “structurally deficient”.  What makes that number even more chilling is the fact that vehicles cross those bridges a total of 185 million times a day.

#2 More than one out of every four bridges in the United States is more than 50 years old and “have never had major reconstruction work”.

#3 America does not have a single airport that is considered to be in the top 25 in the world.

#4 The average age of America’s dams is now 52 years.

#5 Not too long ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the condition of America’s dams a “D” grade.

#6 Overall, the American Society of Civil Engineers said that the condition of America’s infrastructure as a whole only gets a “D+” grade.

#7 Congestion on our highways costs Americans approximately 101 billion dollars a year in wasted fuel and time.

#8 According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over two-thirds of our roads are “in dire need of repair or upgrades”.

#9 In order to completely fix all of our roads and bridges, it would take approximately 808 billion dollars.

#10 Federal spending on infrastructure has decreased by 9 percent over the past decade.

#11 According to Bloomberg, it is being projected “that by 2025, shortfalls in infrastructure investment will subtract as much as $3.9 trillion from U.S. gross domestic product.”

The quality of our infrastructure affects all of our lives every single day.  For instance, we all simply take it for granted that safe, clean drinking water is going to come out of our taps, but recent events have shown that is not necessarily always going to be the case.

Just ask the residents of Flint, Michigan.

Water pipes, sewer systems and water treatment facilities all over the nation are aging and are in desperate need of repair.  Of course the exact same thing could be said about our power grid.  It was never intended to handle so many people, and on the hottest days of the summer the strain on the grid is very evident.

And of course the power grid is exceedingly vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse event, and this is something that I covered in my book on getting prepared.  It has been projected that it would only cost a couple billion dollars to harden the grid against an EMP event, but our politicians refuse to spend the money.

Meanwhile, President Trump is completely correct when he says that our airports look like something that you would see in a third world country.  Most of our airports are at least several decades old, and they are definitely showing their age.

But things are even worse when you look at other systems of mass transit around the country.  While other nations such as Japan and China are investing huge amounts of money into high speed rail, we are doing next to nothing even though what we currently have is absolutely pathetic.

I could go on and talk about our ports, schools, waterways, parks, etc. but I think that you get the point.

President Trump’s instincts are right on the money when he says that he wants to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure.  Without a doubt, we desperately need it.

The problem is that we are flat broke.

We are 20 trillion dollars in debt, and we are adding more than a trillion dollars to that total every year.

So where are we going to get the money?

It is easy for liberals to say that we should raise taxes, but how much more are you going to squeeze out of U.S. consumers?  Two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, and we just learned that U.S. household debt has risen to a grand total of 12.58 trillion dollars.

Once upon a time, America was the wealthiest nation on the entire planet and we could afford to construct bold, new infrastructure projects from sea to shining sea.

But today we have the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and we can’t even afford to repair what we already have.

When I speak of our long-term economic collapse, this is precisely the sort of thing that I am talking about.  We have clearly been in decline for a very long time, and anyone that would suggest otherwise is simply not being honest with you.

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legalize's picture

What do all these things have in common?

They are government projects.

Time to get back to private roads and bridges, people.

vato poco's picture

Yo! Team Trump!

here's your chance to Get The Country Back In Business Again; AND fix some broken shitl AND do something about coffee-sipping weenies with pathetically soft bodies & hands and no jobs and laughably idiotic ideas about how the world works.

start up a modern CCC. fix them infrastructures; pay guys & gals a good wage -although not union scale - to get on-the-job training as to how to fix infrastructures and use a shovel/broom etc.; everybody wins, hugely, and it comes in on time and under budget. Get cracking!

Croesus's picture

Where to get the money?

- FIRE most of the government.

- Eliminate Congressional benefits plans...if they can afford campaign costs, they can surely afford private health insurance costs.

- Eliminate welfare programs.

1980XLS's picture

Eliminate Davis-Bacon.

vato poco's picture

there ya go. THAT'S the key step #1

YouJustMadeTheList's picture
YouJustMadeTheList (not verified) vato poco Feb 17, 2017 5:35 PM

I'm not an architect per se...


But I was thinkin'... If you took all the SHOVEL HANDLES, sawed them off, (from all those 'shovel ready' jobs, that OBAMA created over the past 8 years)...


Wouldn't that help prop up all these crumbling bridges, etc.? (or does the weight of the SNOWFLAKES upon them make them a lost cause cause in terms of engineering?)


Jus wondering

Perimetr's picture

Who cares, we all have wi-fi and food stamps!

YouJustMadeTheList's picture
YouJustMadeTheList (not verified) Perimetr Feb 17, 2017 5:56 PM

Structurally speaking... If you put enough 'actual physical' foodstamps together, you can construct a bridge...


The only problem is that there are no longer any 'actual physical' foodstamps anymore and the 'BRIDGE' is to nowhere.

BuddyEffed's picture

Regarding the infrastructure, Entropy is in a guerilla war with America.

When everything was mostly made of wood and above ground and local, at least entropy was in balance with us at the time.

Olympus Mons is not a Volcano's picture

Agreed, Sinkholes spring to mind, although I haven't looked into it I have a basic theroy about water companys not fixing leaks in there infrastructure being the cause.


mind reset's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... http://bit.ly/2jdTzrM

Croesus's picture

No joke here:

I dated a FB-obsessed girl for a while. Many of her friends worked for state agencies in PA.

The one, in particular, was making 70k salary, plus benefits (car, health, etc.)

90% of this broad's working time was spent on Fartbook, posting dumb shit her kids said.


The USPS has 207 VP's...all making 120k salary, minimum.

These are just 2 direct-knowledge examples, out of at least 50 I could name, given enough time.

Stackers's picture

Where to get the money is the easy part.

You get rid of the Federal Reserve. Stop borrowing your base money supply into existence and have the Federal Government print and spend the base money supply into existence, debt free, spending the money on projects like infrastructure that benefit the whole of society and the economy.

divingengineer's picture

No, I think we should try giving that trillion dollars to Wall Street and see what happens. They'll probably fix the Bridges for us.

quartshort's picture

By proxy we've given WS $10T over the last 8 years. We could have rebuilt every bridge and gold plated each one AND built replacemnt ones next to them, for in 60+ years when the first set wears out, we have another set ready. Instead we got DOW 20K. La-dee-fuking-dah.

Hal n back's picture

Their problem is also they think they are working their rear ends off.

YouJustMadeTheList's picture
YouJustMadeTheList (not verified) Croesus Feb 17, 2017 5:58 PM

Yeah but... Did she like it in the @ss? That might have evened things up a bit.

RogerMud's picture

why in the heck did you leave her?

Nobodys Home's picture

The guys telling a painful truth. The crazy ones fuck the best!
You're an asshole....but a funny one :)

Refuse-Resist's picture

I knew somebody who worked in  telecommunications and academics at a big state university.  He ta,lked about it...

In the acad. dept, entry level professors did most of the heavy lifting, and made around 60k.  Tenured guys all made low 6 figures.  Most of the staff and admin people made less than 40k in the department.

Over on the 'other side', in telecom, nobody but student workers made less than 40k. There were 100k+ assistant directors, associate directors, and even managers all over the place, he said.  In telecom, and in other administrative departments all over campus -- none of them directly involved in educating students.  My friend's description of a typical work day included about 2 hours of work, 2 hours of lunch, and 4 hours of surfing internet. He did say that some days were busy, almost like normal days in private industry.  

There is a lot of fat that can be cut at every level of government. In my own county offices almost every employee is obese (imagine the health care costs).

Over in the private industry side, every company I've worked at for the last 8 years has been tightening belts, reducing staff, selling off facilities, all in efforts to stay afloat.

Government workers, OTOH have prospered in that same time period.  Hopefully that gets addressed.  I think there are huge potential savings at every level of .gov.

The government workers deserve a taste of the shit sandwich most of us in the private sector have been forced to eat for the last 8 years.

forestwind's picture

- Cut the military war budget to average world spending

- Eliminate the private Federal Reserve Bank as in Presidents Jackson and Kennedy.

- Investigate successful infrastructure in other counties and consult with their planners and designers in this area. Mandarin Chinese is not necessary. They all speak English.

PirateOfBaltimore's picture

"I don't need you to push paper and write EPA rules; the Fucking country needs roads and bridges. Grab a shovel, desk jockey."

newdoobie's picture

Blah Blah Blah, Obama already fixed at that, don't you remember?


Nobodys Home's picture

Yah but..Obama ............................................................................................................................................................I was going to say more and realized there was no need.

Tiwin's picture

Sorry Charlie...
the money has to go to Israel and to the military so we can fight Israels enemies for her.

Consuelo's picture



Yes & no...


Government projects actually worked fairly decent when Men were in charge and there weren't any Enviro-lezzo over-the-top regulations to deal with...

LawsofPhysics's picture

LOL!!!!  We have in fact been socializing PRIVATE losses for decades!!!!!

Sounds good to me, all the money "trickled up" to these oligarchs, let the motherfuckers pay for the infrastructure that made they wealthy!

Damn good idea.

divingengineer's picture

Yes, it's hard to ship Tomahawk missiles from the Raytheon plant in Tucson to the Navy shipyard in San Diego without a usable road or railroad track.

Their free ride is over, or at least it should be.

But more than likely, they'll put a sales tax on food to pay for it all. The ultrarich will just tell them to piss off.

Nobodys Home's picture

They could just ship them via rail...on all those Warren Buffet trains that derail. Oops. Then they don't need to use those cruise missiles. They can just have a train derailment every so often carrying 500 of them. We need to make moar!
Then we could scour the railroad beds for the silver content!

robnume's picture

Speaking of San Diego, you should see the incredible potholes in all of the major streets here in S.D. It's a wonder I don't need new tires every three months. But, hey, we're a sanctuary city, so I guess we've got that going for us.

Tiwin's picture

While the Federal govt sends borrowed money to Israel and uses American blood to fight Israels enemies......

Your city , like so many others , cant fix potholes because theyre spending millions on studies and 100s of millions giving the money to sports billionaires to build new stadiums.

Fuck your car as you hit yet another pothole, you pathetic Goyim.

legalize's picture

That's not private free markets working, that's kleptocracy corporate cronyism.  If you don't understand the difference, you haven't been paying attention.

HenryHall's picture

>> Time to get back to private roads and bridges, people.

Private sewers and trash collection also.

Why the heck do I have to pay taxes merely to make sure that my neighbors sewage is not dumped in the street?


kahplunk's picture

Ok you breath in that shit and your children tell me how's your heatlth in a few years.

techpriest's picture

Actually, that really could be done. In this case, an HOA could build an appropriately sized compost/septic system. Some places do this. A friend of mine also was trying to design out a neighborhood that would also have on-site power generation and a heat exchanger under a lake to cover A/C.

I believe it's Gurgaon, India which has a truck-based system in which buildings have giant septic tanks, and honeywagons carry the waste out much like any other trash.

Where I grew up, there was no public sewer, so every house had a septic system. If you attempted to skimp on it and it leaked into a neighbor's yard, said neighbor had the right to sue you. We only had 1 such case in our immediate area, in the 15 years I lived there, and it was resolved pretty quickly.

IOW, multiple private sewage + private infrastructure solutions are already in practice, or could exist. And, in some situations they would be much cheaper. Public sewer only makes sense in densely populated areas.

quartshort's picture

Didn't work out so well for the richy-rich up the road from me, as the lack of effluent couldn't keep the needed bacteria alive while they were in away in warmer climate for winter. They all came back to throw Great Gatsby parties in summer and the system failed. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

kahplunk's picture

Private? why so my right of mobility can be taken away even more so.  Public lands and Public roads end of story bud. Sounds like some generic answer without any thought into it.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) legalize Feb 17, 2017 5:44 PM

Yep.  If things actually had to be paid for the roads would go where they need to and there would be no eminent domain farce.

techpriest's picture

Tom Woods has some excellent podcasts on this. Multiple solutions exist.

Nobodys Home's picture

I've always thought that the only 2 reasons a Federal .gov should exist at all is for infrastructure (The highways are nice...built originally for military purposes) (electricity is pretty cool) (gas stations and heating oil/gas is nice too)...and DEFENSE of the country. Not offense! The Dept. of Defense no longer exists.

nevertheless's picture

Yes, let the private sector control our roads and bridges...OMG, what ever happened to public good. We can send our children to die in useless wars, we all support that bull shit, but pay for roads and school for those same kids is simply asking too much. 

Bay Area Guy's picture

You want to do private roads and bridges, then I want the federal and state gas taxes elminiated.  No reason for those entities to tax me for services they aren't providing.

1980XLS's picture

Even if you had the money, snowflakes can't build things.

i-phone is the only tool they know how to use.

Most cannot even change a flat tire,  using the jack & spare that came with their car.

I am Jobe's picture

You forgot Snapchat and Fuckbook

Consuelo's picture



I saw what you did there...



Nobodys Home's picture

I always come into conversations too late.
I was going to make a snyde comment about tools.

The funny thing is...We are all tools. Some realize it and put a wrench in it. Some don't see it at all. Others love being a tool.

yogibear's picture

Yep Snatch-Chat and Fuckbook.