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Bridge in Pittsburgh Collapses Just Before Biden Visit – Why Is America’s Infrastructure So Bad?

February 2, 2022

Third World country

Dutch people who travel to the United States for the first time often have to swallow when they leave the airport. Once they get in a taxi or rental car and hit the road, they probably wonder if they’re in the right country. Is this the greatest place on earth ? The country is miles behind other western countries in terms of infrastructure. In many places you can even safely speak of the infrastructure of a third world country.

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No road tax

How is it possible that the roads of the richest country in the world are like they were in Eastern Europe, before the Iron Curtain fell to smithereens? The answer is simple: taxes, taxes, taxes! Americans do not pay road tax or purchase tax (bpm) on cars. Road maintenance is mainly financed by fuel excise. But as everyone knows: gasoline is dirt cheap in America.

excise duty

More than 60% of the fuel price in the Netherlands consists of excise duty and VAT. In our country, for example, this year no less than 83.2 cents will be levied on a liter of petrol. In America? Only 4.5 cents per litre. So not much money comes in. In 2016, the US government collected 23.5 billion euros through excise duties on gasoline. In America, about 270 million cars were registered that year. Thanks to only 8 million motorists, the Dutch government raked in about 8 billion euros in additional income from fuel excise duties in the same year. The chance that the excise tax on gasoline in America will go up in the near future is small, however. That last happened on October 1, 1993.

Build Back Better

Still, money is needed to reform the weak infrastructure. The US government is therefore freeing up money. We’re not talking about a few dollars. President Biden wants to invest a trillion dollars, or a thousand billion dollars. Not only roads, bridges and tunnels (110 billion dollars) need to be tackled, money also goes to ports and airports (42 billion), the electricity grid (73 billion), charging stations for electric cars (7.5 billion) and broadband internet (65 billion dollars). billion).

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In America, some 230,000 bridges are in urgent need of repair. There are about 3,000 of these in Pennsylvania. At the beginning of 2022, the state received 239 million euros to quickly renew the outdated infrastructure. Biden visited Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last Friday to discuss his infrastructure plan.

Forbes Avenue Bridge

A few hours before he arrived, the Forbes Avenue Bridge collapsed in the east of the city. Several vehicles fell 20 meters and ten people were injured. Biden immediately visited the site and agitated: “The idea that we’re so far behind infrastructure for so many years, it’s just mind-boggling.”

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The mayor of Pittsburgh said the bridge had been checked in September. The fact that the bridge had actually been collapsing for years was made clear a few days after the incident by a tweet from 2018. In the tweet, one Dr. G Kochanski asked the municipality of Pittburgh if they could keep an eye on the bridge in question, because one of the steel beams was completely rusted through. The photo in the tweet clearly shows that the beam is no longer attached to the support pillar.