The US’s infrastructure is falling apart beneath our feet. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our infrastructure a “D-” on its infrastructure report card. There are so many considerations for infrastructure repair, it’s mind-boggling. From aviation to wastewater systems to public parks, it all needs work. There are two common threads throughout: energy and concrete.
Energy plays the biggest role because you need energy to do repairs and to operate business as usual. You also need it to innovate. Increasingly, people are recognizing the value of renewable energy in this respect. Bounce Energy reports that investors are taking renewable energy seriously as a “key component of infrastructure investment.” In part, this is because companies such as JPMorgan Chase have committed to sourcing 100 percent of their energy from renewables by 2020.
The elephant in the room is concrete — it’s a huge part of the crumbling picture. Roads, ports, bridges, dams, levees, sewers — these are just a few of the structures that rely on concrete. Other structures, such as buildings, railroads and inland waterways, incorporate concrete in various integral ways.
Our system of commerce was built on a substance constantly in need of repairs. According to the University of Ohio, traffic increased by 39 percent between 1990 and 2009, and only 42 percent of our highways are operating at capacity. And the US is a landlord refusing to make repairs: Between 1990 and 2009, there was only a 4 percent increase in new road construction; ASCE gave our roads a D on the infrastructure report card. (…)
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