I don’t think that the condition of our nations infrastructure and the need to fix it is a secret. You can bet that by the time our representatives in congress are in agreement that it is most likely well overdue. In order to fix our ageing infrastructure it is important to be able to properly assess what needs to be fixed and how to properly budget for those repairs. Just throwing more money at a problem isn’t always the best solution. It is certainly the easiest scapegoat. Providing funds to states in a form that allows those states to redirect those funds to their own purpose outside of what they were earmarked for and then wondering why our infrastructure is in the condition that it is in is government handiwork at its best.
Why is there a need to do a better job if you can just throw more money at a problem, more people, more man hours seems to be the infrastructure mantra on how to fix our infrastructure. There is a difference between fixing the infrastructure and investing in the advancement of infrastructure to the countries benefit. But when it comes to fixing the existing infrastructure, I don’t think more money is the issue.
True my impressions may be prejudiced given my position but I would challenge those responsible, those that receive the funds to better manage those funds through the utilization of technology. Not in R&D but technologies that have been around for years that can peer through concrete and steel and help provide a real assessment of the infrastructure. Manual inspections have to stop. If there is a proven method that is better, that can provide more data for less money, fewer lane closures at a lower cost and most importantly with a much higher degree of safety for the inspectors and the traveling public than current inspection methods than those technologies need to be adopted, now.
Changing the 50 year old manual subjective inspections and mandating the use of technology and the delivery of usable information that can not only properly assess the current condition of various components of the infrastructure but provide enough information to the asset owners to be able to create the budgets for maintenance and repairs.
Imagine a bridge collapse..well lets not imagine take the bridge collapse in Genoa Italy. The lack of proper inspections or the use of advanced inspection caused the loss of 47 lives. I think those families would prefer that proper inspections were conducted and I still never heard of Genoa than what ensued. See the New York Times article here https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/06/world/europe/genoa-italy-bridge.html
The management of our nations infrastructure is not in the government throwing another 500 trillion dollars at the problem. It is a matter of mandating proper inspections. Leaving it to business as usual and continuing to conduct inspections the same way that they have been conducted for a hundred years should make those empowered responsible if a tragedy should occur. The responsibility is what is lacking.