American infrastructure is in dire straits, depending on who you ask. There’s no question some of America’s largest infrastructure projects are due for an overhaul, and that many American cities are chronically underserved by the very infrastructure meant to help them grow.
How will infrastructure change in 2018? Which challenges will be addressed head-on, and which will take a backseat to more pressing problems?
Surge in Spending
If the new tax plan passes in 2018, a host of lost subsidies could instantly narrow the gap between public and private utility project funding. In that case, there’s a serious chance private-sector investors would jump into the infrastructure fray, particularly in sectors like air transportation, highway, and other urban density initiatives. Even if a much-needed influx of private cash doesn’t immediately flood into infrastructure, the current administration has plans to funnel as much as $1 trillion into public infrastructure projects over the next few years, particularly into “highways and bridges.” 2018 will likely be a big year for largescale remedial infrastructure work regardless of funding source.
Water at the Forefront
Since the Flint water crisis of 2015/2016, the public has been acutely aware of the dangers of a substandard water supply. From an infrastructure perspective, both contaminated drinking water and sewage overflows are a pressing problem in communities across the country. In 2018, look to see significant attention on issues such as obsolete water mains, sewage piping, and sustainable water management.
Along with age, much of American infrastructure has a capacity problem. The United States’ population has more than doubled since 1960, and public services are struggling to keep up. Particularly in and around major metropolitan areas (where more than 80% of the population live), infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels, highways, and mass transit are quickly outpaced by growth. In 2018, the effort to scale utilities to handle the needs of growing urban centers will gain steam, particularly within high-impact sectors like telecom and communications.
Maintenance Over Innovation
America doesn’t just have an infrastructure problem, it has a maintenance problem. Existing maintenance backlogs on infrastructure large and small are a far more pressing issue than producing “new” infrastructure; after all, $1 in current maintenance saves $4-$10 in future repairs. For years, scholars have been touting a “fix it first” approach to infrastructure and attached utilities, arguing many of our existing structures are completely salvageable if maintained properly. If infrastructure spending surges in 2018, particularly if publicly-funded, look to see maintenance in the spotlight.
Aptus isn’t just in the business of bridge-attached utilities, we’re in the business of infrastructure. The work we do helps keeps cities moving, from bolstering vulnerable telecommunications cabling to securing at-risk water lines to their supporting structures.
Bridges support some of the most important utilities in the country. As the conversation surrounding the state of American bridges grows louder, so too must the one addressing the ongoing maintenance, installation, and protection of bridge-attached utilities.
Want to learn more? Reach out to us today to Go Aptus.