It's hard to commute through a man-made flood.
During the summer of 2014, in the midst of one of the worst droughts the Western United States in decades, the water main under Los Angeles' famous Sunset Boulevard ruptured. For the next four hours it pumped millions of gallons of water onto the streets of the surrounding community, flooding intersections and snarling traffic. It even swamped the recently renovated basketball court at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.
Still, you couldn't call Angelenos surprised. The pipe that broke underneath LA was nearly a century old, and those pipes break regularly. But just as the state of disrepair in the city's water infrastructure was no secret, its indicative of a problem with public infrastructure across the country. America's roads, bridges, waterways, and energy grids need a serious upgrade. There is a current $900 billion investment backlog for all forms of transportation infrastructure across the United States. Why has so much of it gone unfixed?
Simply put: Because Congress hasn't passed a long-term transportation infrastructure funding bill in nearly a decade.
According to a report commissioned in Fall 2014 by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) and preapred by the Duke University Center of Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC), America's decaying public infrastructure -- and our inability to address it -- costs the United States dearly in both business and employment opportunities for its citizens.
We all benefit from efficient transportation infrastructure. Workers need good roads to get to work. Manufacturers need strong rail networks to get products to market. And farmers need sound bridges to send commodities all across the globe.
America needs infrastructure that works. The only question is: Will Washington rise above its inaction?