By: Donna Devita
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Bad Infrastructure in CT
Have you noticed lately that Connecticut bridges and roads are looking a little shabby? So has the rest of the country. Connecticut’s infrastructure was recently voted one of the worst in the United States, labeled in dire need of major repairs and renovations.
CT Has The Fourth Worst Infrastructure In The Country!
In June this year, CNBC released the results of its annual America’s Top States for Business report. This study uses governmental data to analyze all 50 states in 10 major categories that can make or break a state when it comes to business. One of the most important sections for business success is the infrastructure category. When compiling the top ten worst state infrastructures in the country, Connecticut ranked as the fourth worst, with only Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine trailing behind.
Infrastructure is a vital part of our country’s economy and essential to the safety of our citizens. Infrastructure covers a vast network, including resources such as:
- hazardous waste
- freight rail
- electric grids
Back in 2017, Connecticut received a D+ rating for its infrastructure on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) annual Infrastructure Report Card. Unfortunately, the grade has since gone down to a D. Out of 400 points possible in CNBC’s ratings, Connecticut scored 150, only beating the worst infrastructure state (Rhode Island) by fifty points. These are some of the areas the state is struggling in mentioned in the study.
Connecticut roads, in particular, have been rated the second worst in America, only ahead of Illinois. It’s estimated that about three-quarters of the roads are in poor or mediocre condition, leaving very few safe routes available for residents. Driving on crumbling roads is not only dangerous for drivers, it could be costing each driver $864 per year due to maintenance needs, according to ASCE. Even Connecticut’s back roads are unsafe, ranking number one in the nation for rural traffic fatalities back in 2013 due to poorly paved conditions, lack of safety features and higher speeds traveled.
At the beginning of the year, Connecticut was ranked 27th for the highest percentage of bridges categorized in ‘poor condition’. About 7.8 percent of the 4,214 bridges in the state are considered structurally deficient- 332 bridges to be exact. Structurally deficient bridges are at a higher risk for cracking, excessive wear, damage, and other issues leading to the possibility of a structural failure. In 2013, $280,165,324 was spent on state bridge capital projects which consequently did not appear to stretch very far. Out of the 332 structurally deficient bridges listed in the state needing repairs, only five are slotted for renovations in the near future.
Commute to Work
Commuting in Connecticut is not the worst in the country, but it’s definitely no piece of cake. Residents spend an average of 26.3 minutes on their commute to work, above the national average of 25.7. Aside from poor road and bridge conditions causing delays, one of the issues causing high average commute times is the number of super-commuters in the state. Super-commuters are workers who travel 90 minutes or more for a workday, causing additional traffic on already congested travel routes. Bridgeport, Connecticut has one of the highest super-commuter rates at 6.1%- .6% down from the number of super-commuters in New York City.
No one wants a repeat of the Flint water crisis in Michigan, but experts say if Connecticut doesn’t make some changes, we could be headed in a similar direction. ASCE reported drinking water needs for the state will take nearly $3.6 billion to fix, while wastewater is around $4.6 billion in need. In 2017, a study released by the U.S. Geological Survey reported that more than half of the 871,000 homes depending on private wells in Connecticut could be exposed to corrosive groundwater. Shallow wells with low PH levels can cause water to become acidic, eroding at metal pipes causing traces of harmful materials to enter the water.
Why CT Is Lagging in Infrastructure
When it all comes down to it, Connecticut’s infrastructure is suffering for the same reason as most states- money. Since the state is facing a fiscal crisis, Gov. Dannel Malloy was forced to make the decision of canceling at least $4.5 billion in transportation projects and improvements in 2017. Delays in updating the state’s infrastructure, according to ASCE, is not only escalating the cost and risks of these aging systems but preventing Connecticut from competing in the global marketplace it desperately needs in order to keep up with the rest of the country.
Nationwide Infrastructure Solutions
Some states are faring better than others when it comes to infrastructure: Texas and Indiana both received A+ ratings, Georgia an A rating, and Ohio, Tennessee Minnesota and Kentucky A- ratings. Sadly, the United States overall has a rating of D+ for its subpar infrastructure, creating concern when it comes to how we compete with other developed countries around the world.
Even with the running list of issues and challenges our country faces in improving our infrastructure, ASCE still believes the goal is achievable focusing on these three key solutions:
- Investment: Connecticut is not the only state that has been deferring investments to improve our infrastructure. In fact, most of our country is procrastinating in this area. ASCE suggests we need to stop putting off fixing the issues that could improve our economy. Instead, states should be working towards establishing infrastructure trust funds, raising prices and fees to meet the needs of funding transportation projects, and authorizing special programs that work to improve specific categories of infrastructure.
- Leadership and Planning: Without the proper leadership, nothing constructive will ever happen with our country’s infrastructure needs. ASCE recommends that leaders from all levels of government, labor, business, and nonprofit organizations must be willing to work together to monitor the infrastructure investments. This could mean developing prioritization tools, incentive programs, or methods of streamlining projects to make sure there are checks and balances for ensuring projects are properly funded and completed.
- Preparing for the Future: Our country needs to come up with new and innovative ways to improve infrastructure that do not neglect the lessons we have learned in the past. Patching broken roads and bridges will not be enough to put us ahead. Renovations should use the most advanced technology and sustainable materials to withhold the traffic and weather demands of each state in order to make the investment worthwhile in the long run.
CT Personal Injury Experts
Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace have seen our fair share of automobile accidents and injuries, some which have stemmed from poorly maintained and designed roads. If you or a loved has been injured in a vehicle accident, our team is here to fight back for you. Starting with a free case evaluation, Jacobs & Wallace will stand up for your right to safe roads, seeking justice for any damages you have suffered due to infrastructure negligence.