Friday, 28 September 2007« The 7 year wait is over … the Water Resources Development Act passes Congress! | Main | Fired Up about Failing Infrastructure »
I traveled to Trenton Monday morning for the meeting and launch. I left my house in Arlington, VA (just across the river from Washington, D.C.) at 5:45am and arrived in Trenton just after 9am. Just over three hours to travel about 175 miles. Not bad. The trip home, however, took five hours. As I lamented with fellow traveler Nancy Rutledge Connery, who spoke at the conference in Trenton and was on her way to an evening meeting in Washington, "our infrastructure has failed us!"
I don't know for sure if it was crumbling infrastructure that caused the power failure at Union Station that delayed our arrival, but it made me realize that of the six trips I have taken since June (varying in distance from 130 to 1100 miles), all but two of them involved significant delays of one kind or another. And these spanned several modes of transportation: highways, aviation and rail. In terms of hours of delay, I figure I'm at about 23 hours just for these long-distance trips. Nearly an entire day lost due to congestion and inadequate transportation infrastructure. The Texas Transportation Institute tells me that if I were an average Washington area commuter, I would spend 60 hours a year stuck in congested traffic during my regular commute. (As it is, I am a public transit commuter, so TTI's roadway statistics don't really apply to me.)
My point is that after all this wasted time trying to get places, it makes me want to just STAY HOME. And if I just stay at home, the economies of the next six places I might visit will lose out on my spending, I won't benefit from vacation time visiting friends and family away from daily routines and ASCE won't benefit from me attending events important to my work. In the end, the chronic congestion and infrastructure problems hurt us in many ways. We should all be willing to do a little more, pay a little more to lessen this hurt that we all feel in one way or another.
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