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Building Iraq's infrastructure while ours decays

The I-35W Mississippi River bridge catastrophically failed during the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007, collapsing to the river and riverbanks beneath. Thirteen people were killed and approximately one hundred more were injured. The average age of American bridges is 43 years, approaching the normal lifespan of 50 years. One fourth have a problem.


The U.S. has built 810 schools, 4800 water and sewage projects, 1047 roads and bridges.

Not in America. In Iraq.

Al Franken has an excellent video about this called 'Invest Here'.

Now the LATimes is reporting today that after the I-35W bridge collapse killing 13 and injuring 100 last year, 'Urgency has buckled since Minneapolis bridge collapse' due to lack of state funds for infrastructure projects.

From an AP story 'Little progress made in bridge repairs across US':

"An Associated Press review of repairs on each state's 20 most-traveled bridges with structural deficiencies found just 12 percent have been fixed. In most states, the most common approach was to plan for repairs later rather than fix problems now."

Of the 20 deficient bridges studied in Ohio, 40% have not been fixed or improved.

With $10 billion a month spent in Iraq we're short money for bridges and roads, tin-cupping to fund American schools, underfunding our water systems. And now President Bush is predicted to leave a record $482 billion deficit to his successor.

Update (Aug 6, 2008): NYTimes is reporting ('As Iraq Surplus Rises, Little Goes Into Rebuilding') that

Soaring oil prices will leave the Iraqi government with a cumulative budget surplus of as much as $79 billion by year’s end, according to an American federal oversight agency. But Iraq has spent only a minute fraction of that on reconstruction costs, which are now largely borne by the United States.

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