26 February 2018

U.S. Infrastructure: A Visual Anthology

For years, U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle have been striving to find ways to fix the country's crumbling infrastructure. The need to repair roads, bridges and water pipes has prompted various plans over the past several decades, and now, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has presented its own proposal. The White House's $1.5 trillion plan depends heavily on public-private partnerships. It also designates several billion dollars to go to grant projects, which will be evaluated in large part based on their ability to find funding and generate profit. There are a number of roadblocks on the way to implementing a new infrastructure plan of any sort, and in the meantime, the country will continue to operate under the threat of profit and job losses that comes from an outdated infrastructure.

The next energy revolution is quietly underway. Increased renewable generation and improving battery technology will help ease the incorporation of renewable power into electricity grids. When the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris Agreement shortly after the president's inauguration in January 2017, some states and municipalities expressed their intent to continue moving toward greater incorporation of renewables regardless. Thus, in the near term, we’ll see more localized adoption of these technologies.(JOE RAEDLE/Getty Images)

Much of the transmission and distribution grid for electricity, built in the mid-20th century, is approaching the end of its operating life. Many areas will need to expand and adapt as demand continues to increase. Natural gas and renewables have accounted for nearly half of additional capacity in recent years. Smart grids are another technology adaptation that we will see more of in the future. Without appropriate expansion and maintenance, power outages in the country will become more frequent.(JUSTIN SULLIVAN/Getty Images)

Congestion and poor road conditions contribute to the relative inefficiencies of the country’s highway system. Those inefficiencies cost more than $100 billion a year. Automated cars could help increase fuel efficiency and decrease congestion, and associated regulations are being formulated to better address the rapidly advancing technology.(JOE RAEDLE/Getty Images)
Rivers are one of the great geographic strengths of the United States. But with rivers comes the need for bridges -- and bridges aren't easily maintained. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, it will take $123 billion to rehabilitate the tens of thousands of U.S. bridges currently in need of repair.(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In the early months of 2017, after a winter of heavy rains, the Oroville dam in California exceeded its capacity. The spillway, meant to deal with just such an incident, collapsed. Though the damage caused by the failure could have been much worse, the failure showed the vulnerability not only of the Oroville region but of the entire dam-dependent American West.(JUSTIN SULLIVAN/Getty Images)

The U.S. rail sector -- a vital part of the country's transmodal transportation network -- received a rare passing grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The sector is primarily managed and maintained by private freight companies, which invested $27 billion into the country's network in 2015.(DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

The container ship helped to change how the world made and traded goods in the latter half of the 20th century. Automation and blockchain promise to increase efficiency and reduce congestion at the world's ports.(JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
From the popularity of ride-booking services to the creation of automated vehicles, the U.S. transportation sector is rapidly changing. The idea of hyperloop, should it prove successful, would make transporting goods and people more efficient by enabling them to travel at incredibly high speeds.(GENE BLEVINS/AFP/Getty Images)

The nation's water distribution and wastewater treatment infrastructure is among the most deficient areas of U.S. infrastructure. Water is not priced at its true value, and the government subsidized much of the nation's major water infrastructure projects, especially in the American West. If price adjustments for water are not allowed, it will be difficult to attract private investment into the sector.(BILL PUGLIANO/Getty Images)

Congestion at U.S. airports is projected to get worse before it gets better. The American Society for Civil Engineers projects a $42 billion funding gap through 2025. In response, the Trump administration is considering privatizing both Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles International airports.

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