For three weeks, we are going to deconstruct the national infrastructure and how it relates to America’s challenges of climate change, climate destruction and our national response to this existential threat.
The first conversation, we went over what our most recent climate law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are going to address and why it is just the beginning of the action needed to offset climate change.
Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
The nation’s infrastructure has been ignored for nearly 40 years and we spent only what was necessary to keep the nation moving rather than developing a more futuristic national framework capable of keeping up with our changing needs.
Something as simple as water management can have deep underlying issues across the United States.
For example: Somewhere in the United States there is a water main break every two minutes, losing over 6 billion gallons of treated water each day.
This is enough to fill 9,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Water scarcity is real and becoming more of a challenge as heat waves get longer and desert-like regions continue to spread in drought-afflicted areas.
In a nation being beset with higher temperatures, reduced rainfall over nearly half the nation, the loss of billions of gallons of water per day can mean the difference between an economy worth billions due to agriculture or a dust bowl and fast-rising food costs as products have to be shipped in from greater distances or even internationally.
On November 5th the House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). What will this mean once it’s signed? Here’s a topline summary of new spending in the next five years.
• Historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure priorities– including roads and bridges – an estimated $110 billion which funds road repair, and a dedicate grant program to replace bridges. It also preserves the 90/10 split of federal highway aid to states.
• Rail, transit, ports, airports, the electric grid, water systems, and broadband. $66 billion for repairing, extending and increasing safety for freight rail.
• No tax hikes on everyday Americans
• Includes bipartisan Senate-passed Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act
• bipartisan committee-passed Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act and Surface Transportation Investment Act, along with the bipartisan committee-passed Energy Infrastructure Act.
• Improves permitting by including enhanced FAST-41 program, which has substantially reduced the permitting timeline for larger infrastructure projects while maintaining environmental standards.
• Makes a down payment on the infrastructure needed for a low-carbon economy and helps to reduce emissions and improve water and air quality.
• Includes rural infrastructure development and dedicated new funds for major projects.
• Long-term spending for capital assets that will improve economic efficiency, productivity, GDP and revenue, and will not increase inflation.
• New spending paid for according to Congressional Budget Office(CBO)/Joint Committee on Taxation scores, CBO estimates and Office of Management and Budget estimates.
SUMMARY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND JOBS
The Report Card for America’s Infrastructure is a good place to look at where the challenges lie and what it’s going to take to repair them. In the next three weeks, we will refer to this document as we talk about those challenges.
REPORT CARD FOR AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE
• We have passed laws to begin the challenge of upgraded a badly degraded infrastructure in the United States, but is this really going to be enough to address climate degradation and destruction across the United States?
• Where should we begin first?
• How does the pandemic affect our choices and delivery capacities?
• How should we address those regions which are already too far gone for such infrastructure to sustain those regions?
• Should programs exist to consider relocating citizens from areas of near-permanent drought or wildfire? What about regions where storms and encroaching sea levels are unable to be stopped?
• Where should we be focusing our efforts as deadlines loom and challenges with our national ability to complete infrastructure projects plague projects across the nation?
Many of these projects won’t be completed by 2030 when the first expected reductions in climate based pollution are to be measured; how can we increase the rate of transformation and effectiveness of such programs with our government still in such disarray after the Trump Administration?
All this and more, tonight on Climate Change by the Elements at 5:00 PM PST.
A live-cast of The Good Men Project, produced by Lisa Hickey
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This post is republished on Medium.
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