2017 Hurricanes Indicate Frail US Infrastructure Network

A satellite image of a hurricaneThe need to improve the U.S. infrastructure network became more urgent after the recent spate of hurricanes that hit the country, according to Mike Langford, Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) president.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria had to happen first before knowing that the country needs to replace a weak and old infrastructure. Despite the damages, the storms’ impact may have a silver lining in the form of economic benefits derived from recovery efforts.

Rebuilding plans

Whether or not a storm takes place, the importance of continually upgrading infrastructure remains important. Langford cited a BlueGreen Alliance report that showed a need to invest $2.2 trillion in the country’s infrastructure over the current “business-as-usual” attitude. This investment will inject businesses for companies that offer metal building kits like steelcobuildings.com, employ people, and cut pollution.

The report also stressed the need for comprehensive policies for procurement. These policies cover how projects use steel and other materials that are manufactured in the U.S. Infrastructure investments should also focus on fair wages and benefits of new jobs. Economists believe that the delays in infrastructure projects and increasing maintenance costs hold back the country’s economic growth.

Economic setback

Infrastructure ranges from transportation to electrical grids and even the Internet. The current systems have been built for several decades, which is why there is a need to update the system to align it with changes in technology among other developments.

If not, the impact will manifest itself to the $18-trillion U.S. economy. For instance, traffic congestion causes delays that eventually lead to more than $120 billion of economic losses every year, according to engineer and historian Henry Petroski.

Infrastructure investments remain a vital piece of the U.S. economic growth and performance. The public and private sector should work together in determining how to update the current network to maintain the country’s competitiveness, support jobs and businesses.