Sunday, March 9 2014 8:35 PM EDT2014-03-10 00:35:58 GMT
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Word earlier this week about a possible new crack on the Kennedy Bridge was a sobering reminder that America's infrastructure continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate. And no problem should concern us more.
If we could get anyone in Washington to compromise, there are many ways we could reasonably address our budget issues. I'm sure there's room for plenty of cuts in our defense budget without sacrificing our security. We could slash billions from social programs by eliminating all the waste. And yes – we can raise a lot of additional revenue by closing tax loopholes and maybe even modestly raising rates – as long as it's fair and across the board.
But we can't afford to put off the proper repair and maintenance of our national infrastructure any longer. America's Interstate highways and bridges have been neglected for so long they've reached the literal breaking point. And we got just a small taste of the consequences last year when the Sherman Minton Bridge was closed for months for emergency repairs.
Giving any expenditure priority over maintaining the physical links that actually connect this country from coast to coast is like insisting on buying new curtains for a house that's sitting on a crumbling foundation – laughable if it weren't so frightening.
If we're lucky, the problem on the Kennedy is relatively minor. But even if it is, it's just the tip of a very nasty iceberg.