Sunday, August 2, 2015

Old water mains broke this past Monday...and Tuesday...and Wednesday...and Thursday...and Friday...and our corporate-bought, Republican-led Congress is going on vacation. How's that for leadership?

 (WPA workers building a water reservoir in Buffalo, New York, ca. 1935-43. The WPA built reservoirs and installed thousands of miles of new water lines all across America. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.)

On Monday, July 27, an old water main broke in Alexandria, Virginia, causing a road to flood and a shoulder lane to buckle (link to story).   

On Tuesday, July 28, a water main installed in 1927 broke in San Bruno, California. 15 million gallons of clean water--the equivalent of "20 percent of the water that serves San Francisco in a day," or enough to fill up 300,000 bathtubs--went into a creek and a storm drain, and ultimately into the San Francisco Bay. This, while California suffers through a severe drought (link to story).

On Wednesday, July 29, a 76-year-old water main broke in Silver Spring, Maryland, "flooding streets and sidewalks," closing lanes, and causing traffic congestion. Five million gallons of water were lost, and road closures will last for at least seven days (links to story here and here).

On Thursday, July 30, an old water main broke in Syracuse, New York, shutting down a city block and several businesses. The pipe broke one day after another old water main broke in the same area (link to story). 

On Friday, July 31, a half-century old water main broke in Pierre, South Dakota, shutting off water service to "12 homes and an apartment building." This was a day after another pipe broke - a pipe that was installed in the 1920s (link to story).

These are just a very few of the numerous water main breaks that occurred this past week, all across the nation. Indeed, every week in America we experience about 4,600 water main breaks. Where is our corporate-bought, Republican-led Congress on this? Well, they're about to go on their summer vacation and play golf with their billionaire campaign donors, after behaving like children over the Highway Trust Fund, and unable to figure out anything beyond a three-month funding patch - the 34th funding patch since 2009. In other words, they can't even fix our roads, let alone our water mains. U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) correctly noted, "This is a great example of the complete inability of this Republican Congress to govern and solve problems, and it's primarily because they're fighting among themselves." (Note: Even when Republicans have not led Congress in recent years, they've had enough numbers to block legislation.)

But don't take a Democrat's word for it, listen to Jim Inhofe, a senior Republican U.S. Senator from Oklahoma: "The problem with this [infrastructure funding] bill is really more Republicans than Democrats" ("Top GOP Senator Blames His Party for Lack of Highway Funding," Huffington Post, May 19, 2015).

(A water main installation project in Ocala, Florida, funded by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, 1935. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

As Republicans are fixated on cutting taxes for the wealthy, protecting illegal tax evasion, and ridiculing infrastructure proposals by President Obama and other Democrats, old water mains are breaking - buckling roads, creating sink holes, causing traffic congestion, causing businesses to lose money, flooding homes, cutting off and contaminating water service, and helping to flush away about 2 trillion gallons of clean drinking water, every single year. And much of the American public seems fine with this, consistently voting for anti-infrastructure Republicans, or not voting at all.

Isn't that amazing? Isn't that just... pull-your-hair-out-frustrating?

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