Crumbling infrastructure, no jobs, no money... looking good, USA.

"The American Society of Civil Engineers issued an infrastructure report card Wednesday giving a bleak cumulative ranking of D.

"We've been talking about this for many many years," Patrick Natale, the group's executive director, told CNN.

...Roads got a D-, with Americans spending more than $4.2 billion a year stuck in traffic. "Poor conditions cost motorists $67 billion a year in repairs and operating costs. One-third of America's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 45 percent of major urban highways are congested," the engineers' report said.

Drinking water, D-. "America's drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion to replace aging facilities," the report said. "Leaking pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water a day."

Inland waterways, D-. "The average age of all federally owned or operated locks is nearly 60 years, well past their planned design life of 50 years. The cost to replace the present system of locks is estimated at more than $125 billion."

Wastewater systems, D-. "Aging systems discharge billions of gallons of untreated wastewater into U.S. surface waters each year."

Levees, D-. Many levees are locally owned and maintained, but they are aging and their "reliability" is not known. "With an increase in development behind these levees, the risk to public health and safety from failure has increased."

Solid waste got the highest grade at C+ because of success in recycling. "More than a third was recycled or recovered, presenting a 7 percent increase since 2000."

Bridges get a C. One in four of the country's bridges "are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete." The report cites progress in reducing such structures in rural areas but the problem is increasing in urban areas.

Rail gets a C-, with the report noting that a "freight train is three times as fuel efficient as a truck, and traveling by passenger rail uses 20 percent less energy per mile than traveling by car."

A C-minus was also given to public parks and recreation, with parks, beaches and other facilities generating jobs, income, and cleaner air and water.

The national power grid received a D+. "Progress has been made in grid reinforcement since 2005 and substantial investment in generation, transmission and distribution is expected over the next two decades."

The other categories -- aviation, dams, hazardous waste, schools and transit -- each received a D."

Aha! Yup.

"Lake forms in downtown Montreal after 118-year-old pipe bursts.

The water main, which dates back to 1891, broke early Friday morning, sending a fountain of water shooting into the air.

...City trucks moved snow into the area to build a dam to prevent the water from spreading farther, including into the nearby Ville-Marie Tunnel.
"What we are looking at is a dam made of snow," said Jacques-Alain Lavallée, who speaks for the borough of Ville-Marie.

...Forcillo said the recent rash of water main breaks in Montreal should be a reminder to the federal government of the pressing need to help municipalities repair aging infrastructure." LINK

The road to hell is paved with.... unrecycled garbage, gathered out of good intentions?

'...Then came the slump, decimating the Chinese recycling industry and leaving Britain, the US and others grappling with growing volumes of recycled waste and nowhere to send it.
..."Until about eight weeks ago, for example, the entire [US] west coast paper market was sent to China and most of it was sent south. It was processed and made into packaging for products that then shipped back to the US ... But when US consumer demand dropped off, that broke the cycle."
Across the scrap trade, prices have halved or worse in a matter of months.
...There is no longer demand for plastic granules from nearby companies such as Hongkai Plastic Products, which made items such as bicycle handlebars. Its owner, Mr Zheng, has sent 20 workers home. "My factory was hit by the economic crisis - it's been closed for two months already," he said. "We usually sell our products to a dealer and most of his business is exports. He didn't give us any more orders."
At a factory down the road, the response to queries was more brusque. "We've already gone bust," said a man, and hung up." link