Modern Living: Part V of V (Infrastructure deterioration)

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Living)

Topic: Part I
1.  What happened to the American dream?
2.  Entertainment galore
Part II
3.  Cigarette smoking

4.  Illegal drug use

Part III
5.  Antibiotics and super bugs
6.  Antibiotics in meat
7.  GMO in crops
Part IV

8.  Household Pollutants and Chemical spills

Part V

9.  Infrastructure deterioration

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9.  Infrastructure deterioration

System 2009
‘Grades’
5 yr. funding requirements(Billions $ projected shortfall) System 2009
‘Grades’
5 yr. funding requirements(Billions $ projected shortfall)
A.  Aviation D $40.7 Public Parks & recreation C- $48.1
Bridges C $549.5 D.  Rail C- $11.7
Dams D $7.5 E.   Roads D- $549.5
B.  Drinking water D- $108.6 Schools D $35.0
Energy D+ $29.5 Solid waste C+ $43.4
Hazardous waste D $43.4 Transit D $190.1
Inland waters D- $20.5 F.  Wastewater D- $108.6
C.  Levees D- $48.8

Red topics in table above = Topics discussed below

 A.  Aviation

  <http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/aviation>
Air travel in the U.S. rebounded from its post-September 11, 2001, downturn and reached new highs in both domestic and international travel. Enplanements on U.S. carriers for both domestic and international flights totaled 669.2 million in 2000. By 2006, that number had risen to 744.7 million; in 2007 alone, the number increased an additional 25 million to 769.6 million. A sharp increase in the cost of aviation fuel, followed by the recent economic downturn, however, has slowed the demand for air travel. The number of domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines in October 2008 was 7.1% lower than in October 2007. From January to October of 2008 there were 630.1 million enplanements, a decrease of 2.6% from the same 10-month period in 2007. It is estimated that air travel will increase in 2009 though, the latest forecast (March 2008) projecting an annual increase of 2.9% in domestic U.S. commercial enplanements and 4.8% in international enplanements—a system increase total of 3%.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a goal of ensuring that no less than 93% of the runways at National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airports are maintained in good or fair condition. That goal was exceeded in 2007: 79% were rated good, 18% were rated fair, and only 3% were rated poor. However, there were 370 runway incursions in 2007—up from 330 in 2006. Due to the FAA’s 2008 change in definition for a runway incursion, this number is likely to increase further. A runway incursion is defined as an incident involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle, person, or object on the ground that creates a collision hazard for an aircraft taking off, intending to take off, landing, or intending to land.

Top 10 U.S Passenger Airports 2006-2007
Rank Location Airport
1 Anchorage, AK Ted Stevens Anchorage International
2 Memphis, TN Memphis International
3 Louisville, KY Louisville International
4 Miami, FL Miami International
5 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles International
6 Indianapolis, IN Indianapolis International
7 New York, NY John F. Kennedy International
8 Chicago, IL Chicago O’Hare International
9 Newark, NJ Newark Liberty International
10 Oakland, CA Metropolitan Oakland International
U.S. DOT, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2008

Every year the industry incurs avoidable air traffic control delays that, while beyond the immediate control of air traffic control personnel, waste hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2007, airlines reported an on-time arrival record of 73.3%, the second worst in history; the worst record—72.6%—was recorded in 2000. The air traffic control system remains outdated and inefficient, and modernization efforts continue to meet with delay. The FAA is seeking to implement its NextGen system; however, drawn-out congressional reauthorization of the FAA funding mechanism is causing delay and confusion among airport sponsors across the nation.

Top 10 U.S. Cargo Airports 2006-2007
Rank Location Airport
1 Atlanta, GA Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International
2 Chicago, IL Chicago O’Hare International
3 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles International
4 Fort Worth, TX Dallas/Fort Worth International
5 Denver, CO Denver International
6 New York, NY John F. Kennedy International
7 Las Vegas, NV McCarran International
8 Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Sky Harbor International
9 Houston, TX George Bush Intercontinental/Houston
10 Newark, NJ Newark Liberty International
U.S. DOT,  Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2008

The old airline business model is being replaced by a newer low-fare, low-cost model. Between 2000 and 2006, U.S. airlines’ domestic operations reported combined operating and net losses of $27.9 and $36.2 billion, respectively. However, in 2007—for the first time since 2000—the airline industry posted a $5.8-billion net profit. And, cargo carriers continue to report strong results with net profits of $1.4 billion.

Generally, there are four sources of funding used to finance airport infrastructure and development: airport cash flow; revenue and general obligation bonds; federal/state/local grants, including the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants; and passenger facility charges (PFCs). Access to these funding sources varies widely among airports. Since fiscal year 2001, AIP grants have exceeded $3 billion annually, and for the past five years, PFC collections have exceeded $2 billion annually. Together, AIP grants and PFC collections account for 40% of annual U.S. airport capital spending. Since 1990, annual funding for airport capital needs has been in the range of $5.5 to $7.3 billion.1 Since congressional authorization for the AIP expired in September of 2007, the program has operated under a series of continuing resolutions, making long-term planning difficult.

An additional challenge to airport capacity-building is the fragmented nature of airport ownership. Local governments and the private sector represent the majority of owners and investors in air transportation infrastructure, and they tend to focus primarily on their own needs, and only secondarily on national, system wide concerns. According to the NPIAS, there are 3,356 existing publicly owned, public-use airports in the United States, with an additional 55 proposed. There are also 522 commercial service airports, and of these, 383 have more than 10,000 annual enplanements and are classified as primary airports.

Resilience
Aviation’s rapid movement of goods and services, as well as its support of tourism, is critical to the economic vitality of the nation, and air travel is often chosen over other modes of transportation on the basis of convenience, time, and cost. Thus, the consequence of failure is severe. Additionally, shifts in demand corresponding to threats, delays, and fuel pricing contribute to the volatility of the industry. In a highly complex system like aviation, resilience is not simply a matter of technical or facility upgrades. Future investments must consider dynamic system changes, security, capacity, life-cycle facility maintenance, technology innovations, and redundancy.

Conclusion
Just as the industry was recovering from the events of September 11, 2001, it was dealt another blow from the impact of surging oil prices, volatile credit markets, and a lagging economy. In the face of recent FAA estimates that predict an annual 3% growth in air travel, the continuing delays in reauthorization of federal programs and updating of the outdated air traffic control system threaten the system’s ability to meet the needs of the American people and economy. To remain successful, the nation’s aviation systems need robust and flexible federal leadership, a strong commitment to airport infrastructure, and the rapid deployment of NextGen.

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B.     Drinking water

Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/drinking-water
The nation’s drinking-water systems face staggering public investment needs over the next 20 years. Although America spends billions on infrastructure each year, drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion in funding needed to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. The shortfall does not account for any growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years.[Tip: Fix that leak!
A faucet dripping just once per second will waste as much as 2,700 gallons of water per year. Fix any leaking faucets.]

[Image at left: Samples of contaminated tap water from Maywood, Calif.]

Of the nearly 53,000 community water systems, approximately 83% serve 3,300 or fewer people. These systems provide water to just 9% of the total U.S. population served by all community systems. In contrast, 8% of community water systems serve more than 10,000 people and provide water to 81% of the population served. Eighty-five percent (16,348) of nontransient, noncommunity water systems and 97% (83,351) of transient noncommunity water systems serve 500 or fewer people. These smaller systems face huge financial, technological, and managerial challenges in meeting a growing number of federal drinking-water regulations.

In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, which identified potential funding gaps between projected needs and spending from 2000 through 2019. This analysis estimated a potential 20-year funding gap for drinking water capital expenditures as well as operations and maintenance, ranging from $45 billion to $263 billion, depending on spending levels. Capital needs alone were pegged at $161 billion.

Water Usage: 1950 and 2000
1950 2000 % change
Population (Millions) 93.4 242 159%
Usage (Billions of Gallons per Day) 14 43 207%
Per Capita Usage (Gal. / Person /   Day) 149 179 20%
SOURCE US EPA Clean Water and Drinking Water   Infrastructure Gap
Analysis Report, September 2002

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded in 2003 that “current funding from all levels of government and current revenues generated from ratepayers will not be sufficient to meet the nation’s future demand for water infrastructure.” The CBO estimated the nation’s needs for drinking water investments at between $10 billion and $20 billion over the next 20 years.

Resilience
Drinking water systems provide a critical public health function and are essential to life, economic development, and growth. Disruptions in service can hinder disaster response and recovery efforts, expose the public to water-borne contaminants, and cause damage to roadways, structures, and other infrastructure, endangering lives and resulting in billions of dollars in losses.

The nation’s drinking-water systems are not highly resilient; present capabilities to prevent failure and properly maintain or reconstitute services are inadequate. Additionally, the lack of investment and the interdependence on the energy sector contribute to the lack of overall system resilience. These shortcomings are currently being addressed through the construction of dedicated emergency power generation at key drinking water utility facilities, increased connections with adjacent utilities for emergency supply, and the development of security and criticality criteria. Investment prioritization must take into consideration system vulnerabilities, interdependencies, improved efficiencies in water usage via market incentives, system robustness, redundancy, failure consequences, and ease and cost of recovery.

Conclusion
The nation’s drinking-water systems face staggering public investment needs over the next 20 years. Although America spends billions on infrastructure each year, drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion in funding needed to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. The shortfall does not account for any growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years.

Design Life of Drinking Water Systems
Components Years of design life
Reservoirs and Dams 50–80
Treatment Plants—Concrete Structures 60–70
Treatment Plants—Mechanical and Electrical 15–25
Trunk Mains 65–95
Pumping Stations—Concrete Structures 60–70
Pumping Stations—Mechanical and Electrical 25
Distribution 60–95
SOURCE US EPA Clean Water and Drinking Water   Infrastructure Gap
Analysis Report, September 2002

Of the nearly 53,000 community water systems, approximately 83% serve 3,300 or fewer people. These smaller systems face huge financial, technological, and managerial challenges in meeting a growing number of federal drinking-water regulations.

In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, which identified potential funding gaps between projected needs and spending from 2000 through 2019. This analysis estimated a potential 20-year funding gap for drinking water capital expenditures as well as operations and maintenance, ranging from $45 billion to $263 billion, depending on spending levels. Capital needs alone were pegged at $161 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded in 2003 that “current funding from all levels of government and current revenues generated from ratepayers will not be sufficient to meet the nation’s future demand for water infrastructure.” The CBO estimated the nation’s needs for drinking water investments at between $10 billion and $20 billion over the next 20 years.

In 1996, Congress enacted the drinking-water state revolving loan fund (SRF) program. The program authorizes the EPA to award annual capitalization grants to states. States then use their grants (plus a 20% state match) to provide loans and other assistance to public water systems. Communities repay loans into the fund, thus replenishing the fund and making resources available for projects in other communities. Eligible projects include installation and replacement of treatment facilities, distribution systems, and some storage facilities. Projects to replace aging infrastructure are eligible if they are needed to maintain compliance or to further public health protection goals.
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•  That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy
16 December 2009, New York Times, by Charles Duhigg
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17water.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1305695093-MB1uD14BF9hUOpPKG+6vzg
“The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal.

What’s in Your Water
Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Government and independent scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water, according to an analysis of government records by The New York Times.

But not one chemical has been added to the list of those regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act since 2000. Other recent studies have found that even some chemicals regulated by that law pose risks at much smaller concentrations than previously known. However, many of the act’s standards for those chemicals have not been updated since the 1980s, and some remain essentially unchanged since the law was passed in 1974.

All told, more than 62 million Americans have been exposed since 2004 to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease, according to an analysis by The Times of more than 19 million drinking-water test results from the District of Columbia and the 45 states that made data available.
In some cases, people have been exposed for years to water that did not meet those guidelines.
But because such guidelines were never incorporated into the Safe Drinking Water Act, the vast majority of that water never violated the law…”

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C.  Levees

 http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/levees
The state of the nation’s levees has a significant impact on public safety. Levees are man-made barriers (embankment, floodwall, structure) along a water course constructed for the primary purpose of providing hurricane, storm and flood protection. Levees are often part of complex systems that include not only levees and floodwalls, but also pumps, interior drainage systems, closures, penetrations, and transitions. Many levees are integral to economic development in the protected community.

Federal levee systems currently provide a six-to-one return on flood damages prevented compared to initial building cost. Despite this, baseline information has not been systematically gathered through inspections and post-flood performance observations and measurements to identify the most critical levee safety issues, quantify the true costs of levee safety, prioritize future funding, and provide data for risk-based assessments in an efficient or cost-effective manner.
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[Image at right: Rising waters cresting levee along Mississippi River.]

There is no definitive record of how many levees there are in the U.S., nor is there an assessment of the current condition and performance of those levees. Recent surveys by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials and the Association of State Floodplain Managers found that only 10 states keep any listing of levees within their borders and only 23 states have an agency with some responsibility for levee safety. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that levees are found in approximately 22% of the nation’s 3,147 counties. Forty-three percent of the U.S. population lives in counties with levees. Many of those levees were designed decades ago to protect agricultural and rural areas, not the homes and businesses that are now located behind them.

In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007. The Act required the establishment and maintenance of an inventory of all federal levees, as well as those non-federal levees for which information is voluntarily provided by state and local government agencies. The inventory is intended to be a comprehensive, geospatial database that is shared between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the states.

While the USACE has begun the inventory of all federal levees, to date few states or local agencies have provided any formal information, leaving the inventory far from complete. In addition, there is still much to be determined about the condition and performance of the nation’s levees, both federal and nonfederal. As of February 2009, initial results from USACE’s inventory show that while more than half of all federally inspected levees do not have any deficiencies, 177, or about 9%, are expected to fail in a flood event. The inventory data collection process is ongoing and these preliminary findings are expected to change as the process continues.

WRDA 2007 also created a committee to develop for the first time recommendations for a national levee safety program. The National Committee on Levee Safety completed its work in January 2009 and the panel recommended that improvements in levee safety be addressed through comprehensive and consistent national leadership, new and sustained state levee safety programs, and an alignment of existing federal programs.

Damages from Flooding in Levee-Related Areas
Location/year Damages in Dollars
Midwest 1993 $272,872,070
North Dakota/Minnesota 1997 $152,039,604
Hurricane Katrina 2005 $16,467,524,782
Midwest 2008 $583,596,400
National Committee on   Levee Safety

Often, the risk of living behind levees is not well-known, and the likelihood of flooding is misunderstood. For this reason, little focus is placed on measures that the public can take to mitigate their risks. Though the 1% annual chance flood event (“100-year flood”) is believed by many to be an infrequent event, in reality there is at least a 26% chance that it will occur during the life of a 30-year mortgage. The likely impacts of climate change are expected to increase the intensity and frequency of coastal storms and thereby increase the chance of flooding.

During the past 50 years there has been tremendous development on lands protected by levees. Coupled with the fact that many levees have not been well maintained, this burgeoning growth has put people and infrastructure at risk—the perceived safety provided by levees has inadvertently increased flood risks by attracting development to the floodplain. Continued population growth and economic development behind levees is considered by many to be the dominant factor in the national flood risk equation, outpacing the effects of increased chance of flood occurrence and the degradation of levee condition. Unfortunately, lands protected by levees have not always been developed in a manner that recognizes the benefits of the rivers and manages the risk of flooding.

FEMA’s Flood Map Modernization Program, which remaps floodplains using modern technologies, is resulting in a reexamination of levees throughout the United States to determine if they can still be accredited. Before accrediting a levee, FEMA is requiring many communities to certify that their levees meet the 1% criteria.

Flood insurance is one of the most effective ways to limit financial damages in the case of flooding and speed recovery of flood damaged communities. Currently, many people who live behind levees do not believe that they need flood insurance, believing that they are protected by a levee structure. Requiring the purchase of mandatory flood insurance is intended to increase the understanding that living behind even well-engineered levees has some risk. This may encourage communities to build levees to exceed the 1% annual-chance protection standard that has mistakenly become a target minimum.

Resilience
Levees serve to protect the public and critical infrastructure and to prevent flooding. With increasing development behind existing levees, the risk to public health and safety from failure has increased. To address the current lack of resilience in the nation’s levee system, DHS has included levees within the critical infrastructure protection program in an attempt to identify those levees that present the greatest risk to the nation. DHS has also funded research to increase the robustness of levees—for example, armoring the slopes to resist erosion should floodwaters exceed the design elevation—and technologies are currently under study to rapidly repair any breaches that may occur in a levee. To ensure system integrity, future investments must also focus on life-cycle maintenance, research, development of emergency action plans for levee-protected areas, and security.

Conclusion
Much is still unknown about the condition of the nation’s tens of thousands of miles of levees. The residual risk to life and property behind such structures cannot be ignored. Due to their impact on life and safety issues, and the significant consequences of failure, as well as the financial burden of falling property values behind levees that are not safe and are being decertified, the nation must not delay addressing levee issues.

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D.  Rail

Freight Rail
<http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/rail&gt;
The U.S. freight rail system is comprised of three classes of railroad companies based on annual operating revenues:
8 Class I freight railroad systems;
30 Class II regional or short-line railroads; and
320 Class III or local line-haul carriers.

Approximately 42% of all intercity freight in the United States travels via rail, including 70 percent of domestically manufactured automobiles and 70 percent of coal delivered to power plants.  As of 2006, Class I railroads owned and operated 140,249 miles of track. However, most traffic travels on approximately one-third of the total network, which totals 52,340 miles.

After years of shedding excess capacity, railroads have been increasing infrastructure investment and spending in recent years. In 2006, overall spending on rail infrastructure was $8 billion, a 21% increase from 2005. More specifically, spending on construction of new roadway and structures increased from $1.5 billion in 2005 to $1.9 billion in 2007. Increased spending on maintenance of railroad networks and systems has become necessary as investments are made in more costly signaling technology, heavier rail, and the improved substructure necessary to accommodate heavier trains.

Demand for freight transportation is projected to nearly double by 2035—from 19.3 billion tons in 2007 to 37.2 billion tons in 2035. If current market shares are maintained, railroads will be expected to handle an 88% increase in tonnage by 2035.However, as many look to rail as a more efficient and environmentally friendly freight shipper, rail’s market share could increase and lead to additional increases in freight rail tonnage.

An estimated $148 billion in improvements will be needed to accommodate the projected rail freight demand in 2035.Class I freight railroads’ share of this cost is estimated at $135 billion.Through productivity and efficiency gains, railroads hope to reduce the required investment from $148 billion to $121 billion over the period 2007 through 2035.

Passenger Rail
Amtrak, the nation’s only intercity passenger rail provider, carried 28.7 million riders in fiscal year 2008, an 11.1% increase from fiscal year 2007. Further, the 2007 ridership represented a 20% increase from the previous five years.  Corridor services linking major cities less than 500 miles apart, such as Milwaukee-Chicago, Sacramento-San Francisco-San Jose and the Northeast Corridor, are experiencing the fastest growth. 5

Increased ridership has led to increased revenue, and Amtrak received $1.355 billion in federal investment in fiscal year 2008. However, an additional $410 million in immediate capital needs have been identified, including acquiring new cars to add capacity. In addition, upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and improve overall conditions of the 481 stations in its network are estimated at $1.5 billion.

While electrical power in the Northeast Corridor cushioned some of the blow of increased fuel prices in 2008, it also represents a major infrastructure challenge for Amtrak. Upgrading the electrical system in the Northeast Corridor, parts of which were installed in the 1930s, is among the immediate needs identified. Failure of these critical systems could bring the entire line to a halt, which would impact not only Amtrak, but also the eight commuter railroads that share the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak anticipates reaching and exceeding capacity in the near future on some routes. For example, approximately half of trains traveling on one northeast regional line were 85% full and 62% were at least 75% full during one week in July 2008. Even though the current economic downturn has dampened growth, trains will soon reach capacity as the economy rebounds and the growth patterns of recent years are reestablished, and the fleet of cars and locomotives continues to age.

In the long term, the Passenger Rail Working Group (PRWG), which was formed as part of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, determined that an annual investment of $7.4 billion through 2016, totaling $66.3 billion, is needed to address the total capital cost of a proposed intercity rail network. It is further estimated that an additional $158.6 billion is needed between 2016 and 2030 and an additional $132.3 billion between 2031 and 2050 to achieve the ideal intercity network proposed by the PRWG.  These costs do not include the mandated safety upgrades for freight rail lines that carry both passenger as well as freight traffic and for those routes that carry toxic chemicals as required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

While the investments set forth by the PRWG are significant, the benefits would be significant as well. The PRWG estimated a net fuel savings of nearly $4 billion per year by diverting passengers to rail if the proposed vision was adopted. In addition, the investments would reduce the need for even greater capacity investments in other modes.

Intercity passenger rail faces particular concerns not faced by other modes of transportation, such as the lack of a dedicated revenue source. Amtrak owns and/or operates 656 miles of track that are maintained and upgraded using funds from its general operating budget, impacting its ability to fund other projects. The annual congressional appropriations process has provided minimal funding in recent years, leading to a major backlog of deferred track maintenance on the track that Amtrak owns and operates, more than half of which is shared with commuter and freight railroads. For the remainder of its 21,095-mile network, Amtrak relies on freight rail lines that make maintenance and upgrade decisions on the basis of their own business models and shareholders’ interests while preserving Amtrak’s statutory rights for access. Freight and passenger rail interests are becoming more aligned as both require increases in rail network capacity, but successful alignment of interests will require both a public and private investment.

Resilience
Because of its efficiency and reduced energy consumption, rail is an important component of the nation’s transportation network, supporting the economy through both commerce and tourism. But due to a lack of adequate investment, limited redundancy, intermodal constraints, and energy system interdependencies, the rail system is not resilient. Current rail security strategies are risk-based as determined by corridor assessments, corporate security reviews, intelligence analyses, and objectively measured risk metrics. To improve resilience, future investments must address life-cycle maintenance, rapid recovery, multihazard threats and vulnerabilities, and technological innovations.

Conclusion
Rail is increasingly seen as a way to alleviate growing freight and passenger congestion experienced by other modes of transportation. In addition, rail is a fuel efficient alternative for moving freight long distances.
Anticipated growth over the coming decades, as well as demographic shifts, will tax a rail system that is already reaching capacity in some critical bottlenecks. A substantial investment in rail infrastructure will maximize efficiencies and ultimately reap broad benefits for passengers, shippers, and the general public.
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E.  Roads

 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/roads
Our nation’s economy and our quality of life require a highway and roadway system that provides a safe, reliable, efficient, and comfortable driving environment. Although highway fatalities and traffic-related injuries declined in 2007, the drop is most likely attributable to people driving less. Still, in 2007, 41,059 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes and 2,491,000 were injured.  Motor vehicle crashes cost the U.S. $230 billion per year–$819 for each resident in medical costs, lost productivity, travel delays, workplace costs, insurance costs, and legal costs. These findings are clearly unacceptable.

Next to safety, congestion has become the most critical challenge facing our highway system. Congestion continues to worsen to the point at which Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic at a cost of $78.2 billion a year in wasted time and fuel costs–$710 per motorist. The average daily percentage of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) under congested conditions rose from 25.9% in 1995 to 31.6% in 2004, congestion in large urban areas exceeding 40%. And as a result of increased congestion, total fuel wasted climbed from 1.7 billion gallons in 1995 to 2.9 billion gallons in 2005.

        Poor road conditions lead to excessive wear and tear on motor vehicles and can also lead to increased numbers of crashes and delays. According to the Federal Highway Administration, while the percentage of VMT occurring on roads classified as having “good” ride quality has steadily improved, the percentage of “acceptable” ride quality steadily declined from 86.6% in 1995 to 84.9% in 2004, with the lowest acceptable ride quality found among urbanized roads at 72.4%. 2 These figures represent a failure to achieve significant increases in good and acceptable ride quality, particularly in heavily trafficked urbanized areas.

Compounding the problem are steadily increasing demands on the system. From 1980-2005, while automobile VMT increased 94% and truck VMT increased 105%, highway lane-miles grew by only 3.5%. From 1994-2004, ton miles of freight moved by truck grew 33%.  The increase in freight traffic is of particular concern because of the increased dependency of commerce upon the efficiency of the roadways and the added wear and tear caused by trucks. Without adequate investment and attention, the negative trends will continue, as will the adverse consequences. It is clear that significant improvements and system maintenance will require significant investments.

The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission studied the impact of varying investment levels (medium and high) and produced the following ranges of average annual capital investment needs (in 2006 dollars):

  • $130 billion-$240 billion for the 15 year period 2005-2020;
  • $133 billion-$250 billion for the 30 year period 2005-2035;
  • $146 billion-$276 billion for the 50 year period 2005-2055.

The lower end of the ranges reflect the estimated costs of maintaining key conditions and performance measures at current levels, (the status quo), while the higher end ranges would allow for an aggressive expansion of the highway system, which would provide improved conditions and performance in light of increasing travel demand.  Even at the lower range of estimates, an enormous gap exists between the current level of capital investment and the investment needed to improve the nation’s highways and roads.

Resilience
The Interstate Highway System was constructed as part of the nation’s strategic homeland defense, illustrating the important role of transportation in mitigation, defense and recovery.

Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the U.S.
Rank City Hours of Delay per traveler
1 Los Angeles/Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 72
2 San Francisco-Oakland, CA 60
3 Washington, DC-VA-MD 60
4 Atlanta, GA 60
5 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 58
6 Houston, TX 56
7 Detroit, MI 54
8 Miami, FL 50
9 Phoenix, AZ 48
10 Chicago, IL-IN 46
Urban   Mobility Report: Texas Transportation Institute, 2007

The ability of our transportation system to withstand threats from hazards of all types, both natural and human-caused, and to restore service promptly following such events, is known as resilience. Resilience includes a variety of such interconnected aspects as structural robustness, system redundancy, security posture, emergency response capabilities, recovery measures, business continuity alternatives, long-term mitigation strategies, cross-sector interdependencies, regional impacts, and supply chain disruptions.

Building disaster-resistant roads and highways reduces hazard mitigation costs, limits exposure, and maintains operational continuity. A multihazard approach utilizing next-generation codes, standards, and practices is necessary to minimize the extent of a disaster.

Conclusion
The challenges imposed by our highway infrastructure require a large increase in capital investment on the part of all levels of government and other sources as well. The failure to adequately invest in the nation’s highways and roads will lead to increased congestion and delays for motorists and the further deterioration of pavement conditions and will pose increased safety concerns. An overstressed infrastructure will also slow freight delivery, create unpredictability in supply chains, diminish the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and increase the cost of consumer goods. There must also be a significant change in the way we manage the system, which should include the use of emerging technologies and innovative operational strategies.

While acknowledging the need to move to a new, sustainable funding system in the long term, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission has recommended an increase of 5-8 cents per gallon per year over the next 5 years to address the current projected shortfall.  Clearly, we cannot continue to rely upon gasoline and diesel taxes to generate the HTF revenues, especially when national policy demands a reduction in both our reliance upon foreign sources of energy and our nation’s carbon footprint. While in the short term an increase in the gas tax is clearly necessary, our national policy must move toward a system that more directly aligns fees that a user is charged with the benefits that the user derives.
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F.  Wastewater

Crumbling U.S. Sewage System Undermines Public Health
20 Feb 2004, Environmemental news Service, By J.R. Pegg
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2004/2004-02-20-10.html
WASHINGTON, DC, February 20, 2004 (ENS) – The United States has a million mile network of sewage collection pipes designed to carry some 50 trillion gallons of raw sewage daily to some 20,000 treatment plants. But parts of this complex and aging infrastructure are crumbling, environmentalists warn, posing a health risk to communities across the nation.

There is no shortage of communities that have already suffered adverse effects from the failure to regulate or upgrade sewage collection and treatment. Their situation is documented in a report issued Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).
•  “Swimming in Sewage” details how sewage pollution costs Americans billions of dollars every year in medical treatment, lost productivity and property damage.
•  “We have a looming public health crisis on our hands that will take billions of dollars to fix,” said Nancy Stoner, director of NRDC’s Clean Water Project.

In fact, it may cost even more.

A statement on the report by the Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies says the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accounting Office and the EPA all agree there is a national funding gap estimated to be as high as $1 trillion for water infrastructure. Some 87 percent of the more than 12,000 beach closures and advisories in 2002 were the result of high bacteria levels in the water.
[Photo at right: Water treatment facility.]
The report features seven case studies from around the country that illustrate how exposure to sewage pollution has killed or seriously injured people and harmed local economies. The case studies are from California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Washington, DC.
•  The report cites figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that found in 2001 there were 40,000 sanitary sewer overflows and 400,000 backups of raw sewage into basements.
•  The EPA estimates that 1.8 million to 3.5 million individuals get sick each year from swimming in waters contaminated by sanitary sewage overflows.
•  Many older municipalities, many in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, have sewage collection systems designed to carry both sewage and stormwater runoff.
•  These systems are often overwhelmed with a mixture of untreated sewage and stormwater, and the EPA estimates that some 1.3 trillion gallons of raw sewage are dumped each year by these combined sewer overflows.

A large part of the problem is one of aging infrastructure, some pipes still in use are almost 200 years old, although the average age of collection system components is about 33 years.

Federal officials predict that without substantial investment in the nation’s sewage infrastructure, by 2025 U.S. waters will again suffer from sewage related pollutant loadings as high as they were in the record year 1968.

Wastewater treatment is expensive and plant operators say federal funds are needed for vital upgrades to occur. But the greater problem is not one of engineering, Stoner says, it is the lack of political will to address and fund solutions. Under the Bush administration, the political will to deal with sewage infrastructure problems is weaker than before he took office, according to the report.
[Image at left: New Mexico Environment Department, Emptying into the Rio Grande.]

The President’s 2005 budget request, for example, cuts some $500 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides grant money to state and tribal governments for development and upgrades of sewage treatment plants. This is the biggest cut in the Bush budget for any environmental program and Stoners says it will result in more beach closings, more contaminated shellfish beds, more polluted drinking water supplies, and more waterborne disease, which now sickens nearly eight million Americans every year.

“Waterborne disease outbreaks are on the rise across the country,” added Michele Merkel of the Environmental Integrity Project. “Most often, Americans get diarrhea, skin rashes or respiratory infections, but waterborne illness can threaten the lives of seniors, young children, cancer patients, and others with impaired immune systems. Now is the time to boost funding to protect Americans, not cut it.”

The administration has also shelved a Clinton era plan to require new controls aimed at preventing raw sewage discharges and has issued a new proposal to ease existing sewage treatment regulations.

The Bush proposal focuses on the practice of blending, which occurs when large volumes of wastewater, caused by heavy rainfall or snowmelt, exceed the capacity of secondary treatment units at a sewage treatment facility.

At most sewage treatment plants, incoming wastewater is treated by the primary units, which separate and remove solids. Then it is sent to secondary treatment units where the remaining solids are broken down by biological treatments, and most of the pathogenic organisms and other pollutants are removed.

The wastewater is then disinfected before it is discharged into waterways. But during heavy storms the capacity of the secondary treatment units is exceeded at many plants and the excess is diverted around these units, then later recombined or blended with the wastewater that has been treated by the secondary units. These blended flows are disinfected and discharged – the practice is allowed under the Clean Water Act only when there is no feasible alternative.

Under new Bush proposal, blending would be permitted regardless of feasible alternatives.  Upgrading sewage treatment plants to handle peak flows would cost billions of dollars, say industry officials, who call blending a “longstanding, sensible practice.”

In addition, EPA officials and industry representatives note that the blended waste must still meet discharge standards, but environmentalists say those standards do not cover viruses or parasites and believe the plan violates the Clean Water Act.

“Swimming in Sewage” cites a recent study that finds the risk of contracting the diarrheal illness giardiasis from untreated parasites in blended wastewater is a thousand times higher than from fully treated wastewater.

End of > (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/Modern living/Part V of V: Infrastructure Deterioration)

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1 Comment

Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

One response to “Modern Living: Part V of V (Infrastructure deterioration)

  1. Anonymous

    WE WILL EVETUALLY BECOME AS BAD AS MEXICOS WATER WE NEED NEW TECHNOLOGY AND MORE RESTRICTIONS AND MAYBE A REVAMPMENT OF THE SYSTEM OR UPPGRADE SO WE CAN KEEP WHAT IS HERE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

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