Advertisement

CU Boulder experts: Biden infrastructure bill could help Colorado with natural disaster mitigation

The recent I-70 mudslides are just one example of natural disasters that can hit Colorado, wearing down roads, bridges, and buildings.
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 7:26 AM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The recent I-70 mudslides are just one example of natural disasters that can hit Colorado, wearing down roads, bridges, and buildings.

There is new insight from a Colorado based expert, who is said, Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill has potential to reduce damage done by future natural disasters.

“It costs a lot to maintain our infrastructure, but it cost a lot more not to do so,” said CU Boulder structural engineering professor Keith Porter.

The Glenwood Canyon mudslides are Colorado’s latest natural disaster, when rock filled mud broke highway guardrails like toothpicks and damaged the road to the point it needs re-paving. Experts say, this is an example of why infrastructure investment should be proactive.

“If we build better now, we can help our children and our grand-children avoid being in the situation that we’re in now,” Porter added.

Colorado would get $5 Billion from the infrastructure bill, according to The Denver Post.

Porter says, current building codes allow Colorado infrastructure to be built in a way that is cost-effective on the front end, but expenses on the back end when natural disasters hit is often more expensive than if more money went to better quality construction initially.

“If we can adopt, enforce, and improve our codes, and infrastructure design requirements, we can reduce the long-term cost of affording our buildings, our roads, and our pipelines, and so forth,” Porter said.

While $1 trillion sounds like a lot, experts actually say it’s not enough. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates $2.6 trillion needs to go to U.S. infrastructure in the next decade in order to avoid future losses to our economy.

Porter added, “They estimate the potential loss over the next 20 years to be $10.3 trillion, for not maintaining our infrastructure ... that’s 3 million jobs, that’s a little over the equivalent of $3 thousand per household, per year ... We all ultimately pay. Eventually, it comes down to the individual taxpayer. It may go through a circuitous route of taxes, or it may go through decrease quality of life, but we ultimately pay.”

There’s no definite time frame of when money would go out if the bill passes, but experts estimate it will be years before Americans see an impact.

Copyright 2021 KKTV. All rights reserved.