A Michigan Dam Burst, Can We Finally Tackle Infrastructure Now?
Earlier this week, the Edenville and Sanford Dams, just a couple hours' drive north of Detroit, had what the National Weather Service called "catastrophic failures." To put it kindly, it's a beaver's worst nightmare.
It's literally a record-breaking flood in terms of water height, which isn't good. 10,000 people are being evacuated, and water levels are still slowly rising.
What sucks, in particular, is that this was preventable. Edenville lost its hydroelectric production privileges in 2018, and the owner, Lee Mueller, had been warned that this dam was unsafe. He had a record of noncompliance, and even nicely laid-out recommendations on what to do to get the dam back to being safe were just ignored. How do you just ignore warnings that your dam is going to burst? That's like ignoring warnings that a dog shat in your shoes and then putting them on anyway.
Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is calling this a 500-year flood and plans to take legal action against Mueller's company. This is far too many "once-in-a-lifetime" weather problems happening across the country, and Whitmer is far from the only politician around the United States seeing the fallout. That might not be enough, though. Michigan's infrastructure is aging and crumbling and will only get more expensive to fix, but Michigan isn't alone. Pick a date and pick a state -- there's a bridge falling apart or a dam bursting or a road breaking all over the place and all the time in the US. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the whole United States a "D+" on its infrastructure in 2017 and estimates that it'll cost the economy trillions of dollars if we don't spend the necessary money to fix things.
Now is actually the perfect time to do something about this, before another disaster happens. The unemployment rate is rocketing up faster than Buzz Lightyear strapped to bundle of fireworks. Why not have a jobs program designed to help rebuild as many deteriorating bridges, dams, and roads as we can? We've had programs like this before, and people in Congress are proposing ways to do it again. Who gives a shit where the idea came from? Let's keep America from literally collapsing on top of us.