Once again the unthinkable has happened in America.
A highway bridge has collapsed, sending at least five motorists (including a truck driver) to their deaths, inflicting numerous injuries and costing God knows what in damages and total economic impact-- not to mention what it's done to the national psyche and how the U.S. is viewed worldwide.
I mean, c'mon, huge bridges-- this one was in Minneapolis/St. Paul and ran over the Mississippi River for crissakes---- are not supposed to just buckle out of the blue and pancake themselves into real-life horror shows killing and maiming those unlucky enough to be driving on them. At least not in my United States.
"A bridge in America shouldn't just fall down," is what Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN-D) declared at a news conference after the collapse. And she rightly pointed out the collapse is a reminder the nation's infrastructure needs to be a funding priority.
I still remember how incredulous I was when it happened in my neck of the woods one summer night 23 years ago. On June 28, 1983, a 100-ft long section of the Mianus River Bridge on I-95 in Greenwich CT (just over the New York State line) simply dropped to the river gorge 70 ft below, killing three motorists and injuring another three. Had it not happened late at night there is no telling how many more would have been killed as that bridge is part of the major thoroughfare that's the gateway to New England and connects New York City with New Haven, Boston and beyond.
Here at FleetOwner, we constantly cover the whole, massive issue of America's crumbling infrastructure, perhaps most comprehensively in our 2005 magazine article series "Roads to Hell."
But very sadly not a whole hell of a lot has changed in the last two years let alone since the Mianus River Bridge collapse.
And let us not forget what Hurricanes Katrina and Rita told us about the despicable state of of our nation's crucial infrastructure.
The solution is to DEMAND that your elected representatives at the state and federal level pass legislation that will fund road and bridge projects that make sense.
If they don't, don't complain to me. Vote them out of office.
Democratic, Republican or "Independent," they all work for us.
We run this country but only when we collectively step up to the plate on election days.
As things are going now, we don't need terrorists to take down our country.
We're doing a fine job of it ourselves.