The crumbling of an Interstate bridge in downtown Minneapolis brings to the forefront the Dirty Little Secret of the American Urban Core: Our national infrastructure is neglected and deconstructing and instead of rebuilding it we are rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure.

The sad, hard, thing about the Minneapolis collapse —
other than the wholly inappropriate comment by a newscaster saying,
“The bridge looks just like 9/11” when nothing can compare to that
incredible sinking of hopes and promises — is not just the unnecessary
loss of life but the fact that for many years city elders knew the
bridge was unreliable and in danger of catastrophic demise.

Unfortunately, Minneapolis is not unique in big city manipulation of citizen expectation and prayers.

Bridges and roads across America are decaying at a terrifying rate and
yet no one wants to step up and pay for repair or new construction.

No
one has the guts to stand up and remedy the decaying infrastructure by
telling the truth, “We need to raise taxes to maintain our bridges and
roads and sewer systems.”

And so — in that cowardly, tax-abating void — we all retreat into benign sleepwalking waiting for the next inevitable crumbling to sound down around us.

And
so we all bide our time, waiting for the next collapse, and we all
cross our national fingers and toes and hearts that the next victim of
ongoing, expected and necessary urban decay won’t be someone we know
and love.

17 Comments

  1. Gordon!
    Excellent point and how right you are from afar!
    Janna had to stay home today because the PATH was flooded and NYC’s underground transit system entirely melted. Over 1,000 people were lined up waiting for taxis near Grand Central Station. A total failure! Imagine if a terrorist attack were mixed in the mess.

  2. This whole thing is quite the scandal here in Quebec. The government is currently investigating over 130 overpasses in the province that may be in trouble. 5 people died when an overpass in Laval collapsed last year. I am going to post a link to this post on my blog and I hope concerned people drop in and comment.
    http://neath.wordpress.com

  3. Thanks for the excellent information, neath! Your site is doing an excellent job in memorializing these problems so no future official can hide and say “we didn’t know.” Good job!
    Your bridge Avatar is both telling and beautiful!

  4. “We need to raise taxes”???
    The government is far larger today as a percent of GDP, and spends vastly more money today, than it was when the interstate highway system was first built. We clearly need to rearrange our priorities.