High efficiency and low cost Who is to blame for the US infrastructure problems?
Trillions of infrastructure will push up the fiscal deficit! High efficiency and low cost Who is to blame for the US infrastructure problems?
The economic losses caused by the new crown pneumonia epidemic and the response measures taken by the United States have further expanded the US fiscal deficit. It is expected that the 2021 fiscal year, which is from October 1 last year to September 30 this year, will be The fiscal deficit will be as high as 3 trillion U.S. dollars, accounting for 13.4% of GDP, the second highest level since 1945.
Currently, the two parties in the U.S. Congress are discussing an infrastructure construction plan totaling approximately one trillion US dollars. According to previous estimates by the US Congressional Budget Office, this plan will push up the federal budget deficit by about $256 billion in the next 10 years.
High efficiency and low cost. There are many infrastructure problems in the United States.
The endless accidents have made infrastructure construction a hot word in the news in the United States. pay attention to. According to an assessment report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers in March this year, the U.S. faces an infrastructure funding gap of up to $2.59 trillion!
What is the current state of U.S. infrastructure? Let’s start with the public transportation system.
Of the US$550 billion in new expenditures included in the US$1 trillion infrastructure bill, 39 billion is intended to be used to improve the public transportation system-but it can really solve the problem of Is there a “backward” status in public transportation?
Chicago is one of the few cities in the United States that has a subway. The old facilities in the station make it hard to believe that this is the subway built by the world’s “superpower”, and every train has the same characteristics. It is “Late” and “Emergency Stop”.
CCTV reporter Xu Tao: Chicago has the second largest public transportation system in the United States. However, due to the relatively early construction time, many equipments are now aging. On our way to the airport, the train stopped three times.
Causing emergency stop There are many reasons for this: many trains in Chicago have been in use since 1980, and the vehicles themselves may have many problems; trains need to switch tracks when passing intersections, but due to the old communication equipment and signal loss, some areas require manual operation to allow Trains pass through intersections; in addition, there are hidden dangers in the internal safety of the Chicago subway, and crimes often occur.
Public transportation under such conditions has greatly reduced the willingness of passengers to ride, resulting in the current low efficiency and high cost of public transportation in the United States.
Ram Pendiala, a professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment: Even before the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the public transportation system in the United States has been struggling, and passenger traffic has continued to decline. Undoubtedly, it has brought a lot of pressure to the operation of the public transportation system.
And now When the reporter walked out of the Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, the capital of the United States where the subway system has been in operation for 40 years, there is still no subway connecting the airport to the city.
Actually, the second phase of the “Washington D.C. Silver Line Subway” project designed to connect the airport to the city began as early as 2014, but it has not been completed so far. In the unused station, cracks have appeared in several sections of the concrete wall, and repairs have begun-the project budget has also increased from the initial US$2.7 billion to US$4.1 billion.
The reason Because Washington, D.C. is administratively under the direct jurisdiction of the US federal government, the autonomy of local governments is far inferior to that of states, and there is no voting power even in Congress. As a result, many issues including subway projects have become political games in Congress. Bargaining chips.
Public transportation that should serve the public and provide convenience for the people has become a bargaining chip in the political game in the United States. Change.
Ram· Pendiala: What we have been doing is some marginal adjustments, such as upgrading a few buses, adding a few stations here or modifying a few places there, but these small adjustments really won’t have any impact. . What you need is a certain impact on the system, in other words, you need a qualitative change.
Aging water supply system equipment and serious drinking water pollution problem
Water supply system is an important guarantee for residents’ daily life, especially the supply of drinking water. In the assessment report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers in March this year, the drinking water system was rated as “C-“.
The winter storm that swept across the United States in February this year paralyzed the water supply system in many southern states, and it did let people see the current status of aging water supply equipment in the United States-but this is not what Americans face daily drinking water. The only problem.
CCTV reporter Xu Tao: This is a community in southwest Memphis. For a long time, this mainly African-American community has had problems with water supply. In early 2021, after the winter storm that swept through the southern United States, many pipelines broke down here, the water supply system was paralyzed, and many residents did not have drinking water at home-but this is not the main problem that local residents face in water supply. Drinking water in Memphis is taken from underground aquifers, and there are many large factories nearby, and water pollution problems have always plagued local residents. In 2017, arsenic and lead levels in groundwater nearby were detected to exceed safe drinking water standards. The arsenic content in groundwater near one of the thermal power plants was more than 300 times higher than the federal drinking water standard in the United States.
At the beginning of this year, Local residents encountered a new problem. A company planned to build an oil pipeline that would pass through southwestern Memphis into northern Mississippi. It would pass through an aquifer that provides drinking water for 1 million people. This caused strong local be opposed to.
Memphis community opposed Justin Pearson, founder of the crude oil pipeline construction group: Memphis is the world’s largest city that draws water entirely from the ground, but they plan to lay oil pipelines on the aquifer, and we know there are known rupture points there. According to relevant research reports, one gallon of oil spill will pollute 25 million gallons of water.
Under pressure, the company announced last month that it would cancel its plan to build this pipeline, but the factories only across the road are still operating. Moreover, the risk may not only come from the environment in which the community is located, but also from the daily water supply pipes-lead pipes. Lead pollution in drinking water is a long-standing problem in the US water supply system.
In the United States, Lead-containing water supply pipes are also affecting residents’ daily water use. It is estimated that there are currently approximately 380,000 lead-containing water supply pipes in Chicago that provide water to approximately 80% of the local households.
Chicago is currently the city with the most leaded water supply pipes in the United States. According to surveys, in the past six years, about 80% of communities have faced the problem of lead pollution in drinking water. In the words of local residents, every day It’s like drinking water with a straw containing lead.
Members of environmental protection organizations Brenda Santoyo: When using lead-containing water supply pipes, it is like drinking with a lead-containing straw. Many households may be unknowingly affected by lead in the water.
Although Chicago announced a plan to renovate lead water pipes in 2020, due to lack of funds, the progress is slow-some experts jokingly said, “At the current rate, it will take about 500 to complete the renovation of all pipes.” year'”. According to the statistics of the US Natural Resources Defense Council, there are currently more than 6 million lead-containing water supply pipes in the United States. From 2018 to 2020, more than 61 million people use water supply systems. The lead content in drinking water exceeds that in the United States. The safety value set by the pharmacy for bottled water.
In the $550 billion new expenditure part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, $55 billion is used to replace lead pipes and service pipes to provide clean drinking water throughout the country.
U.S. Natural Resources Jeremy, the senior lawyer of the Protection Committee. Orr: This seems to be enough, but when we look for old infrastructure, the number of lead pipelines will increase, and the amount of funds required will also increase.
Although the funds may not be enough, they are there anyway. However, some experts said that many of the current buildings that use lead water supply pipes are private property, and they should be replaced. Pipelines require effective coordination among environmental protection agencies, state and local governments, water providers, and private homeowners. Therefore, it may take ten years or more to replace lead pipes nationwide.
Where is the difficulty of US infrastructure construction?
Since when Biden took office, the two parties have been in a stalemate, with the budget dropped from 2.3 trillion US dollars to the current 1 trillion US dollars. Although the two parties have reached a consensus on the $1 trillion plan, according to US media reports, the voting process is expected to have many twists and turns. Why is it so difficult to build infrastructure in the United States?
Actually, this is not the first time that the President of the United States has proposed to engage in infrastructure construction. When Obama was president, he proposed $3.9 trillion in infrastructure, but it failed. When Trump was president, he proposed $2 trillion in infrastructure but failed. Now, Biden has put forward an infrastructure plan again, and the budget has shrunk again and again.
Infrastructure is a good thing, but it is difficult to implement it when many US presidents are in office.
Party disputes between the two parties make it difficult to reach agreement on infrastructure construction.
In fact, the Democratic and Republican parties are not opposed to infrastructure construction. However, regarding the question of what constitutes “infrastructure”, two However, the party’s perceptions are very different. The Republican Party advocates the construction of railways and roads based on traditional energy sources. The Democratic Party’s infrastructure mainly focuses on wind energy, solar energy, Internet+, and railways and roads. It is mainly developed around new technologies-it is precisely because of this fundamental difference in perception that the two parties have been arguing over infrastructure issues for many years and unable to reach an agreement.
The conflict of interest between the federal and local governments makes it difficult to engage in infrastructure construction
The US’s own institutional problems have also brought considerable resistance to infrastructure construction. Because the United States adopts a federal system, each state has its own laws, and sometimes federal laws cannot interfere with state laws. If the federal government engages in infrastructure projects that touch the interests of local governments, quarrels and rants will definitely happen, which will inevitably affect the construction of the project. Interstate 95, which has been repaired for 61 years, is the best example.
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