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The tragic accident we just witnessed in Florida has left the entire nation in shock, and it is definitely a major alert signal for our country’s aging infrastructure. It feels like the United States is literally falling apart right before our eyes. Just a few months ago, we had the devastating Texas power grid failure, which had catastrophic impacts for local residents during one of the coldest winters on record. Thousands of water pipes burst, millions of families were left without heat, water, and food for days, and billions of dollars worth of damage were done. But for those who don’t live in Texas, it was easy to forget that terrible crisis ever happened. However, now we’re being reminded one more time how the rapid deterioration of our key infrastructures is ravaging the once beautiful cities previous generations left for us. And what makes this disaster even worse is that it could have been prevented.
The collapse of the Champlain Towers unexpectedly happened on Thursday in the southeast corner of Surfside, Florida, right on the beach. The sea-view condo development was built in 1981 and it currently had a few two-bedroom units on the market, with asking prices ranging from $600,000 to $700,000. Authorities are still investigating what caused the accident, and everyone in the area seems extremely disturbed by how fast everything happened. “Buildings like this do not fall in America,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett. “This is a third-world phenomenon, and it’s shocking.”
In an interview, Burkett said the “worst has yet to come”. Right after the calamitous accident, County Mayor Daniella Levine declared a state of emergency and asked the governor to do the same so that the area could receive streamlined state resources for the recovery effort. Gov. Ron DeSantis then declared a state of emergency in the entire Miami-Dade County, but help only arrived in the evening, hours after the collapse.
According to a USAToday report, last year, a researcher at Florida International University conducted a study that found that this particular building had severe infrastructural problems that only worsened over the years. “The building has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s,” noted the 2020 study conducted by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment.
Experts have been warning about America’s crumbling infrastructure for decades now, but their alerts are being left unheard. At this point, horrible catastrophes are occurring all across the nation on a regular basis. Even before the Florida accident, other structures were falling apart as well. Just a couple of days ago, Washington D.C. residents witnessed the sudden collapse of the Kenilworth bridge, which caved in over a highway, halting dozens of cars. Shocking images show that the bridge fell on top of three lanes of traffic, with debris stretching all along the way.
However, several months before the Kenilworth bridge collapsed, Fox reporter Evan Lambert reported that a past inspection indicated that consideration should have been given to replacing the bridge. At the end of the day, none of this should come as a surprise for us. The American Society of Civil Engineers has been giving warnings about America’s crumbling infrastructure for a very long time, but our leaders haven’t been listening. The federal government should be focusing on preserving and optimizing the use of the country’s major infrastructures, but instead, some of them haven’t had inspections or have been entirely abandoned for years.
Now, in an attempt to remedy what has been neglected for decades, the new administration revealed plans to make a big effort to patch up some of our decaying infrastructures. But the approach they intend to take to accomplish that goal will end up causing a lot of economic pain in the long run. Even though it is unquestionably a noble goal, government officials are proposing an enormous amount of new spending instead of using existing funds to make these renovations.
Although it may sound like a reasonable short-term solution, in the long term, it only intensifies our financial problems and makes our economic conditions even worse. We desperately need to fix our aging infrastructure, but for that, we should be using existing funds instead of letting them be diverted to fund unnecessary projects that aren’t nearly as urgent as this one. Lamentably, most Americans don’t know or just don’t care about the repercussions the current monetary policies will have on their lives in the future. It was just a matter of time before both of these structures collapsed, and it is also just a matter of time before our entire economy breaks down. The whole system is falling apart all around us, and things are doomed to get worse as only a few people are worried enough to try to save our country.