Infrastructure: The Blockbuster Movie

public works projectsMaybe a few weeks ago you went to see Hollywood’s first summer blockbuster of the year, San Andreas, and you got to watch a lot of roads and bridges get destroyed. It may make for a fun movie, but when infrastructure fails in the real world, the results can be traumatic and deadly.

In May thousands of leaders from business, labor and government met in Washington to mark National Infrastructure Week. And they all agreed—America must do something about the state of its transportation, water and electric systems. The flooding in Texas and the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia drove that message home. But, as John Oliver explains in this great clip from his show, without the political will to raise the money to fix the infrastructure, America is heading for more and bigger disasters.

The lack of political urgency in tackling this problem is insane. And you cannot tell me that you are not interested in this, because every summer people flock to see our infrastructure threatened by terrorists or aliens. But we should care just as much when it’s under threat from the inevitable passage of time. The problem is no one has made a blockbuster movie about the importance of routine maintenance and repair.

This is followed by possibly the funniest movie trailer you’ll see this year. After you stop laughing, consider what infrastructure means for you and your community. And make sure to think especially hard about what it means for the most vulnerable people in your community. As Next City points out:

From urban centers to rural and tribal lands, low-income communities are extraordinarily vulnerable to extreme weather. They are often located in low-lying areas, where failing infrastructure and poor-quality housing are readily destroyed by storms. Toxic waste sites, landfills and coal-fired power plants, which pose added threats when disaster strikes, are often located in or near those same communities. Where people live paycheck to paycheck, lost work days can push families into destitution.

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