collapse of the 35W between Minneapolis
has some people seeing a silver lining in
the tragedy – that this powerful sign
of the poor state of U.S. logistics infrastructure
will result in real action to address the
issues. To date, the publicity and recommendations
from various groups and commissions has
been strong and united in the need to make
massive infrastructure improvements, but
this has, in reality, led to only modest
governmental efforts (See Transportation
Infrastructure and the Future of U.S. Logistics).
there is a silver lining to all of this,
it will be the renewed focus on the enormous
needs of our transportation infrastructure
system," Janet Kavinoky, Director of
Transportation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
said in a statement. "We owe it to
the memories of those who died to react
productively and thoughtfully to this tragedy
by renewing our roads, rails, waterways,
ports and aviation systems."
fact, just hours before the collapse, Sen.
Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) and Sen. Chuck
Hagel (R., Neb.) had introduced legislation
calling for a new trust to fund infrastructure
recommendations and legislation proposals
have largely failed to result in real action.
The problem: not so much a lack of political
will as a real lack of available money.
required to implement all of the improvements
some would like to see are simply huge –
and probably unrealistic. For example, the
American Society of Civil Engineers has
published data saying it will require $1.6
trillion over just the next five years for
needed improvements to the nation's roads,
bridges, dams, water systems and airports.
Repairing deficient bridges alone would
cost $188 billion over 20 years.
consider this: it is estimated that the
improvements needed in roads and related
improvements in Chicago alone is $61 billion
over the next 20 years – just to keep
pace with growing usage, and not to make
any improvements in current congestion.
Estimates in cities like Dallas
are similarly in the many tens of billions
of dollars just to maintain current congestion
In an era
of rising oil prices, raising gasoline taxes
at either the federal or state level would
likely prove very unpopular. At the same
time, road and related construction costs
are estimated to have risen 50% since 1999.
expects the Minneapolis
bridge incident will spur some local and
national effort and spending specifically
around bridge safety, inspection and repair,
but not much on overall logistics infrastructure