Thursday, August 13, 2015

Two 90-year old water mains broke in Silver Spring, Maryland, creating havoc. Where are Republicans?

Above: A WPA road project in Frederick County, Maryland. New Deal programs like the WPA, PWA, CWA, CCC, and FERA built up America's infrastructure in ways that Americans can't even comprehend today. WPA workers alone participated in 124,000 bridge projects, 40,000 school projects, and 8000 park projects. They installed 16,000 miles of new water lines, 24,000 miles of new storm & sewer lines, and built, repaired, or improved 650,000 miles of road, enough roadwork to go around the Earth 26 times. Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.

Yesterday, two 90-year old water mains broke in Silver Spring, Maryland, flooding businesses and causing traffic congestion. These breaks were just two of the quarter-of-a-million breaks that will occur in the United States this year. A utility spokesman in Silver Spring said: "Its an illustration of the aging infrastructure we have in the system." He also noted that many similarly-aged pipes in his service area will not be replaced for 10-20 years. Actually, compared to the rest of the country, that's not a bad time frame. 

Because of America's dropping infrastructure investment, Americans will have to get used to (if they aren't already) the many problems that broken water mains cause: Flood businesses, flooded homes (causing higher home insurance premiums by the way), sinkholes, road damage, traffic congestion, water contamination, water shut offs, wasted water, higher utility rates, and more.

So, where are Republican politicians on this issue? After all, they're always blathering on about their love of small business, and their love of a strong America. Well, during the recent Republican presidential debates, nothing was mentioned--not one word--about America's crumbling infrastructure. The right-wing moderators and the right-wing candidates just didn't feel it was important enough to talk about - probably because their super-wealthy funders don't care about infrastructure either. After all, they can always truck in fresh water to fill their gold bathtubs.

And this is in keeping with the overall neglect of our infrastructure that Republicans have shown these past many years. Let's take a stroll down memory lane...


Republicans oppose Obama's "$50 billion 'roads, rails, and runways' proposal" (Time). 


"Senate GOP Blocks $60B Obama Infrastructure Plan" (USA Today).


The Congressional Budget Office concludes that a "House GOP highway bill would bankrupt [the] trust fund" (The Hill). Commenting on the bill, former Republican Congressman, and then-Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, said: "It’s the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service" (Politico). 


In March, "The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced...that the U.S. earned a grade of D+ in its 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure" (CBS News). A few months later, Republicans announced that they would block infrastructure improvements proposed by President Obama (U.S. News & World Report).


House Republicans pass a budget with "deep cuts to...infrastructure spending" (Reuters). 


"$478B Infrastructure Bill Blocked By Senate GOP" (The Fiscal Times).

(Also see, "The Stunning Collapse of Infrastructure Spending in One Chart," ThinkProgress, November 1, 2013, and "Top GOP Senator Blames His Party For Lack Of Highway Funding," Huffington Post, May 19, 2015)

Dear America: Do you like clean & reliable drinking water? If your answer is "yes," don't vote for "conservative" politicians. Otherwise, you'll be boiling your drinking water in the very near future (note: many Americans already are).

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