The Cost Of “Infrastructure” Vs. WarAugust 2, 2007
As a resident of the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, I’ll no doubt be personally affected by the tragic collapse of the I-35W bridge. This was considered one of the most heavily trafficked bridges in the entire state. I’ve been glued to the TV all day watching all the latest developments. One subject that keeps getting touched on is the status of bridges all across the country, most notably the alarming number of those that are categorized as “structurally deficient”. It got me thinking. Why aren’t we spending money on this? Is it the cost?
I decided to do a little research to get some perspective on what kinds of costs we’re talking about here. I started to look for bridges specifically, and I found one. A BIG one:
On the other hand, maybe we don’t have to worry about building new bridges as much as simply fixing and maintaining the ones that are already there. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we would have to spend $9.4 billion a year for the next 20 years to take care of these bridges. Lots of dough (a total of $188 billion without considering inflation).
In contrast, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing about $12 billion a month. This means that we’re spending the equivalent cost of one of the largest bridges in the world every 3 days. Or, looked at another way, the cost of the aforementioned repairs over 20 years is roughly the cost of a little over one year in Iraq alone.
Ain’t it somethin’?