Let’s continue to prioritize U.S. infrastructure
Updated: Mar 31
Written by: Ariana Tsegai 🇪🇷
Construction on campus at the University of Maryland on March 30, 2023. (John Valencia)
In the U.S. infrastructure is often neglected and underfunded. This has become an incredible issue over the past decade that has caused real consequences for Americans across the country.
Our infrastructure is the backbone of our economy, as well as our society– and it is essential that we adequately invest in it if we want to continue to thrive; without it, we fall.
Infrastructure serves a purpose beyond the physical structures and systems it provides to support our daily lives. It is what we rely on to get to work, transport our favorite goods, and travel from one place to another.
Without a strong, and properly functioning infrastructure, our economy would eventually fall– and there would be an inability to move goods and people across the country. For a country that heavily relies on transported goods and functioning services, its fall would be disastrous.
Despite the importance of infrastructure, the U.S. has been extremely slow to invest in it in recent years.
One of the main reasons for this is a lack of political will. Infrastructure projects are considered “expensive” by policymakers and often take many years to complete. An article written by the U.S. News states that more than 80% of Americans favor increasing infrastructure funding for roads, bridges, and ports.
The lack of investment in infrastructure in the U.S. can be attributed to government neglect. Many politicians are more focused on short-term gains and reelection campaigns than the long-term benefits of policies regarding infrastructure investments.
When prioritization sides with money over people, it only shows that politicians exist to please their corporate interests.
The public’s response to the barrier of government neglect has been mixed. One group of Americans is willing to recognize the importance of infrastructure investment and is willing to invest in projects through taxes, but the other group of Americans isn’t willing to support these projects, leading to gridlock.
The reality is that the neglect of infrastructure has serious consequences that could be irreparable.
Poor infrastructure leads to disruption in local communities and habitats, polluting air and water, as well as contributing to global climate change, like the most recent train accident occurring in East Palestine, Ohio that involved a 47-car freight train carrying hazardous materials, which derailed and caught on fire.
Students walking on campus at the University of Maryland on March 30, 2023. (John Valencia)
Not only is the cause of the derailment still under investigation, but the health effects have also been prominent. A health assessment carried out by the Ohio Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that a survey of 168 people reported symptoms of headaches, anxiety, coughing, fatigue, and pain due to train derailment.
The Ohio train derailment has served as a modern example of the importance of infrastructure investment to ensure our transportation systems are safe, efficient, and reliable so that an accident like this does not occur again.
The derailment emphasizes the importance of investing to protect public health and the environment. There are many factors at risk when infrastructure is not prioritized, which serves as further proof as to why we must ensure our communities can thrive and why we must be prepared to meet these challenges.
Neglecting infrastructure cannot be an option. There are real consequences for Americans across the country that harm our society’s way of life.
Our policymakers must prioritize infrastructure investment as a nation and invest in long-term projects that break barriers for many. By investing in sustainable and equitable infrastructure, we can create a society that works for everyone and is safe for all– not just for the wealthy few.