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America’s Infrastructure is Hurting Us More than Helping Us
If you are part of the 95% of Americans that use a car as a means of transportation, you have experienced something like a trashy road that hasn’t been fixed or repaved. It may appear as harmless, but road conditions like these are actually some of the leading causes for automobile accidents in the United States. And the number of road condition related accidents are on the rise every year we postpone the repairs of America’s transportation systems.
Roads and sidewalks are not being cared for in cities and towns all throughout the U.S. making it dangerous for active people to drive or exercise along roads. I am an active teenager that loves spending lots of time outside riding bikes, skateboards, and running on roads. I also, like most Americans, use cars as my main way of transportation. However, potholes, cracks, broken street signs, lack of rumble strips, and missing guardrails can make these activities life threatening!
America’s road system dates back to the 1950’s during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s terms as president. It was then when Eisenhower realized how much the U.S. lacked public works systems on the western half of the country. As a result, he paid lots money to create the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defence Highway. The flaw in this system was that the roads were not built to last. The team given the task of paving America rushed to work as fast as possible. Asphalt and concrete roads weren’t given enough time to settle and became prone to cracks and breaks. This meant roads were in poor condition from the start. Today we are faced with the effects of poorly building our roadway system. Road teams are constantly repairing roads in an ineffective manner. Instead of replacing roads completely, with longer lasting material, we opt to take the less expensive path. It is normal for road repair crews to wait an extended period of time only to fix small portions of roadways. It isn’t worth reconstructing with the same material as before because roads are just going to break again. But, we have to do this because there isn’t enough money being derived from the Federal Gas Tax to be put into road repairs. The Federal Gas tax has remained the same for almost 20 years. This is unproductive because it will cost much more in the long run. Some might jump to the conclusion that raising this tax will cost them way too much money when purchasing gasoline or diesel. But according to Christopher Ingraham, a reporter and author for the Washington Post, the average American driver annually pays a total of $515 in extra costs for repairs on vehicles caused by bad road conditions. Also, according to the American Transportation Builders Association, the gas tax also only takes an extra $97 from the average American driver each year. By inflating this tax, roads could be repaired with the extra money. Then, with safer roads, the extra $515 in repair costs would be eliminated!
So what? We can work together to fix roads all across America by doing two simple tasks. One is to spread awareness of how much drivers pay for the Federal Gas tax in comparison to the cost of vehicle repairs. Talk about the tax, post about it, email and text people about it. If we could get the gas tax to be raised, the United States would have much more money to be spent on bigger infrastructure repair projects, not just small tweaks to roads. Increasing the cost of both gasoline and diesel would help to fill in the deficit of the Federal Highway Trust Fund. More taxation means more focus on fixing dangerous roads. This would result in better road systems and lowered numbers of accidents caused by conditions. The second task is to support Donald Trump’s recent infrastructure bill. On February 12, 2018, Trump released a bill on the plan to repair America’s infrastructure all across the country. According to Lydia DePillis, an author for the CNN Money Magazine, “The White House says its plan will create $1.5 trillion for repairing and upgrading America’s infrastructure.” By supporting this bill, we could maintain the country’s roads much more efficiently than ever before.
Both you and me, American road-users, experience poor conditions of infrastructure all the time. However most of us a haven’t yet experienced the risk these hazards put as at. By working together and becoming aware of the infrastructure that supports our daily lives, we could better these things. Whether it is by paying a tax or sharing this article with a friend, sibling, or an adult, we could eliminate and prevent the dangers of using poorly built roads.
ASCE Foundation. “Roads.” Road Infrastructure Report Card, ASCE, 2017.
DePillis, Lydia. “Trump Unveils Infrastructure Plan: Here's What's in It.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 12 Feb. 2018, 3:54.
Ingraham, Christopher. “Where America's Worst Roads Are.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 June 2015.
Seth Pajcic in Personal Injury. “Potholes & Bad Road Conditions Cause Many Car Accidents.” The Law Firm of Pajcic and Pajcic, 27 Dec. 2015.
Swaby, Rachel. “Why American Roads Are So Bad.” Gizmodo, Gizmodo.com, 8 Nov. 2011.