Next Stop…Infrastructure Collapse

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

Washington D.C. is snarled with traffic on a cataclysmic scale.  All local authorities and emergency units are stretched to their limits dealing with the overflow of vehicles heading into and out of the nations’ capitol.  Schoolchildren are left stranded with no way to attend school and frustrated parents must either call in late to work or call off because the city is literally brought to a standstill.

Does it sound like the scene from an action movie or thriller when a city is brought to its knees by a terror attack or a natural disaster?  Fortunately for the residents of Washington D.C. and its suburbs, it was not that tragic an issue; but it is one that is nonetheless frustrating and could possibly lead to national security issues in the near future.  It is the state of our crumbling infrastructure.

For a 29-hour period, the D.C. Metro Rail System was completely shut down for emergency maintenance and safety checks, due to frayed cable systems being detected in various subway stations along the line.  Safety issues last year led to a part of the system engulfing subway cars in thick, acrid smoke and leaving one commuter dead.  The Metro debacle is the latest of many issues facing the whole country as our leadership refuses to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill which would create sustainable jobs for decades to come.  Let me repeat that last part: for decades to come.

Infrastructure around the nation is in shambles due to lack of funding.  Our national and local governments have developed a ‘kick the can down the road’ approach, leaving millions of our citizenry in peril as they make the daily commute over bridges, overpasses, and into tunnels and subway systems that are in complete and utter disarray.

Another D.C landmark, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, with its stunning arches and incredible golden statuary, is in such a state of disrepair that there have been talks of completely shutting the span down until the proper funding can be allocated to refurbish it.  Does this sound like the nation which boasted to the world for over a century about its manufacturing, ingenuity, building and engineering prowess?  We instead have become victim to a process which plays political football with our lives and our livelihoods.

It is time for the American public to put their U.S. Representatives’ feet to the fire and ask why they continually pay lip service to bringing good-paying, family sustaining manufacturing jobs back to our shores, while in essence, it is the furthest thing from the truth.  There have been discussions by such groups as the BlueGreen Alliance, which have stated that to replace all the main water and underground gas lines running throughout our major cities would sustain jobs in the manufacturing and building trades for easily the next four decades, if not longer.

Our citizenry has to become vigilant, taking a more active role in making sure the infrastructure problems in D.C. and around our nation do not become the new normal.  Call your U.S. Representatives, U.S. Senators and our President and demand the passage of a comprehensive infrastructure and jobs bill, involving trillions of dollars, and not the paltry billions proposed, which amount to nothing more than a Band-Aid covering a hemorrhage. 

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You can contact Richard on Twitter @stlwrkr4889.

Posted In: Union Matters

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