America’s Infrastructure Is “Garbo”
I love when I hang with my nephew. He’s seven, so I get to play Legos, watch Marvel movies, and learn new words that the kids are using these days. Spending time with him reminds me of how old I’m getting.
Recently, we watched Iron Man 2 together, and he called it “garbo.” My response was: What in the hell is a “garbo”?
My nephew had to explain that “garbo” is simply short for garbage. I swear I felt my hair graying and my hairline receding in that very moment.
I liked the word, though, so I started using it for everything. My chores, my hour-long commute, and much more became “garbo.”
Then I joined the Energy and Capital team and became enamored with oil, gas, and energy. I couldn’t stop reading and learning about the markets.
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases a report card for the state of America's infrastructure, the most recent one being in 2017.
America received a D+ on the infrastructure report card. In some colleges, a D+ is failing.
Let me tell you: America’s infrastructure is complete garbo and needs improvement for a few reasons.
First and foremost, America’s energy system is utterly outdated. Many of the distribution and transmission lines were built in the 1950s and 1960s, with a 50-year life expectancy.
That means we’re running electricity on systems that are outdated by almost 20 years.
America’s energy systems are also underfunded. About $934 billion is needed to fund our energy systems, while only $757 billion has been provided.
Due to its aging infrastructure, America’s energy systems are a liability to our economy. With a less-resilient infrastructure, bad weather causes outages that cost as much as $33 billion a year.
Although we make enough energy to meet national standards, our systems clearly need to be updated for better resiliency and reliability.
Our bridges are pretty pitiful as well.
Out of 614,387 bridges in America, almost 25% of them are 50 years old. In 2016, 188 million of America’s bridges were used by citizens while being rated as structurally deficient.
That’s pretty scary.
The number of structurally deficient bridges is decreasing over time, which is great. But what’s alarming is that the vast majority of our bridges are nearing their 50-year life spans with no immediate plans to address it.
If you thought our energy systems were underfunded, I hope you’re seated. Out of the $2,042 billion needed to have our bridges brought completely up to speed, only $941 billion has been provided.
In a nutshell, our bridges are garbo, too.
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Texas scored a little higher on the report card and received a C-. When I was an undergrad, this was the lowest passing grade possible.
Texas is an economic leader for America, being the forerunner in wind power, population growth, and its massive infrastructure.
Texas’ roads and highways need work. Many of them have reached their design life, and some don’t even meet the national design standards. Roadways congested with traffic are such an issue in parts of Texas that it costs citizens an extra $890 a year in car fuel.
The state’s bridges are in terrible shape as well. What’s worse is that funding to them has been slashed, so there are little to no plans to give them the attention they require.
The biggest infrastructure problem in Texas is that there aren’t enough oil pipelines to handle production growth.
In late 2018, the Permian Basin, located in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, was discovered to potentially have the largest source of oil and natural gas on the globe. To that end, companies all over the oil and gas sector are staking their claim in the region.
The Permian Basin is also in need of infrastructure assistance. Without enough pipes, crude material cannot be sent to market efficiently. That, in turn, causes companies to spend more to ship their crude via railway or delivery truck.
Take the Bakken oil formation in 2008 for example. Pipeline capacity was reached within a year or two, and there weren’t any more pipes to run the crude to. Companies started having to spend money just to transfer their product, and a bottleneck was created, although additional pipelines would’ve been a better option.
What happened with the Bakken is what’s taking place right now in Texas, and that’s the reason Texas needs pipelines. Badly.
There Is a Solution
In conclusion, America’s infrastructure, specifically its pipelines, is garbage, and I’m shocked at its sorry state. All we’re missing are the funds required to upgrade and maintain it, and we’re failing at that, too.
But in 2016, the PIPES Act was signed into law with a simple and direct purpose: to push private investment into America’s pipeline infrastructure.
As a result, there are companies in the market that work on America’s infrastructure.
You can read more about them in my colleague Keith Kohl's report, “American Superpower Checks: Collect Consistent Paydays of $1,818 or More.” He details how you can get paid fat checks just for investing in our country's much-needed infrastructure.
To learn more, please click here now.
The more you know,
John Butler, Jr.
Contributing Editor, Energy and Capital
Energy Demand will Increase 58% Over the Next 25 Years
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