Flint Poisoning Shows How Crucial It Is For America To Invest In Infrastructure

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

There is a crisis in Flint, Michigan.  The once iconic auto making city has been reduced to a shambles because of poor economic policies.  To make matters even more precarious, the infrastructure of the city is beyond the point of any simple repair.  With a massive loss of tax revenue, emergency managers have put in place austerity measures that have proved fatal, such as using the polluted Flint River for the city’s drinking water.

The city’s 100,000 residents, most of who live below poverty level, have now received the ultimate blow; the water they rely on to live has been poisoned by high levels of lead.  The Atlantic has reported on how children in the area are suffering from various health and psychological issues due to consumption of lead from their drinking water. 

State government has been almost non-existent during this crisis and some local pastors have written to authorities that the populace is on the brink of civil unrest.  Beyond all of this tragedy, there are questions to be asked of our local, state and Federal government.  How many more Americans have to be poisoned before we realize that our infrastructure has failed us?  How many more Americans have to risk travel for work or leisure across unsafe bridges, overpasses and highways?

How many more of us have to live in towns where ancient underground gas lines are failing at an alarming rate?  The American citizenry has been warned of failing water systems which haven’t been repaired for countless decades, dams that are crumbling, faulty rail lines causing derailments of passenger and cargo trains.  Add to this the horrendous state of our port systems, airports, and our antiquated power grids which can leave whole cities in darkness upon epic failure.  You soon realize why we need a comprehensive plan of attack.

Are we truly willing to become a third world nation, while the obstinate, moneyed interests in Congress and our state legislatures refuse to listen to the will of the American people?  This is not a liberal, conservative or a Tea Party issue.  This is an American issue.  Our leaders need to hear our voices, not in a whisper, but in thunderous rancor.  We need to band together, as only the American population can in times of crisis and say “enough is enough!”

Put America back to work rebuilding what needs to be repaired and being the innovators of new, exciting engineering marvels which will make us the envy of the world once more.  The pathetic, paltry size of $300 billion for an infrastructure bill needs to be revised.  Show some guts and initiative and put the trillions of dollars needed to right this listing ship.  Save our industries such as steel, by having infrastructure truly protected by strong, “Made In America” laws, and stop these one -ided trade agreements which damage our populace with job loss and our infrastructure projects with inferior, foreign-made materials; think of the already corroding San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Government officials, the American people will be ignored no more.  The perils of Flint and other, suffering American towns have pushed us to our breaking point.  We are creating a man-made Katrina disaster.  Fix these problems now!  We deserve this much; we demand this much!

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You can contact Richard on Twitter @stlwrkr4889.

Posted In: Union Matters

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