June 27, 2013
Industry News

What is the cost of our failing U.S. infrastructure?

Our failing U.S. infrastructure could cost our cities and businesses $1.2 trillion by 2020, and individual families $3,000 each per year.

The Hidden Costs of Failing U.S. Infrastructure: A Looming Financial Burden

The question is, what is the true cost of our crumbling U.S. infrastructure? Repairing or replacing our failing infrastructure comes with a hefty price tag, but there's more to it than meets the eye. Attendees at a recent town hall meeting in Warren, Michigan took a deep dive into this issue and reached a startling conclusion - the aging infrastructure crisis could saddle our cities and businesses with an astonishing $1.2 trillion by 2020.

The burden isn't just financial; it touches every aspect of our daily lives. Families are estimated to lose around $3,000 per year each due to lost time, car repairs, and service interruptions caused by deteriorating roads. Michael Langford, President of the Utility Workers Union of America, aptly summed it up, saying, "We're all paying for a first-rate infrastructure, but we're getting a third-world infrastructure."

The high cost of infrastructure affects our cities in more ways than one. More than 600 water mains burst every day, resulting in a staggering 7 billion gallons of spilled water nationwide. These costs ultimately get passed on to businesses and consumers, diverting funds that could otherwise be invested in infrastructure projects that not only create jobs but also reduce service disruptions and resource wastage. Unfortunately, the replacement of aging infrastructure and the construction of new facilities such as power plants occur more frequently than we stop and ask, "How can we use what we already have more efficiently?"

Individuals and families experience the impact of infrastructure costs every day, whether they're stuck in traffic for hours, hit a pothole, or lose access to water or electricity during a brownout. This week in North Texas, three separate water main breaks disrupted water service, damaged nearby homes, and created pressure geysers or flooding. By 2020, the projected cost of infrastructure passed on to consumers is estimated to reach a whopping $611 billion nationwide. In addition, water rates may double over the next two decades to accurately reflect the actual operating costs of utilities due to these emergencies. The logical alternative is to be more proactive and avoid spending ten times the amount on emergency repairs that could have been prevented through proper maintenance.

Aside from saving money through preventative maintenance, infrastructure owners can reduce costs by an additional 60-90% compared to replacements or traditional concrete and steel repairs by embracing alternatives such as HJ3’s structural strengthening systems. HJ3’s composite systems, suitable for a wide range of applications including bridges, overpasses, underground pipes, and manholes, are designed to restore a structure's strength within days, rather than weeks or months, while minimizing resource use compared to concrete or steel reinforcements.

Our deteriorating U.S. infrastructure has far-reaching implications, affecting us at the federal, state, city, business, and consumer levels. The projected costs of this crisis could reach a staggering $1.2 trillion by 2020, in addition to the $3.6 trillion estimated for repair or replacement. Delaying action only allows these figures to balloon further.


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