Friday, September 20, 2013
American bridges need an estimated $3 trillion in repairs, according to a recent study, and in 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America's roads a D- rating. How do you convince citizens to budget for infrastructure repairs? It is a PR challenge that municipalities, counties, states and the Federal government will undertake for decades to come. It is easy to gain support to build a bridge or road. It is harder to keep them in working order for their lifespans. Other priorities get in the way -- education, nutrition, help for the poor, medical aid, pensions etc. Repair budgets get cut or go unfunded. Citizens become alarmed when a bridge or road actually fails but until then, they drive them daily and never think about rust, spalling, buckling and cracking. It is someone's worry and job. But, it can't be because the tax money to repair them comes from the citizen's pocketbook. It is up to citizens to voice concern for infrastructure. How do you persuade millions of taxpayers that it is in their interest to pay more for maintenance?