News Column

Mayor Michael D. Bowdler Calls City to Shore Up Infrastructure Investments, Create Jobs

July 31, 2014



DETROIT, July 31 -- BlueGreen Alliance issued the following news release:

Mayor Michael D. Bowdler today signed a resolution supporting city-wide efforts to repair crumbling infrastructure systems in River Rouge and surrounding communities. These systems include water, transit, energy, roads and bridges, and natural gas distribution systems.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a Report Card for America's Infrastructure every four years, and on the latest report card in 2009, Michigan earned a "D" average (http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/michigan/michigan-overview/) for infrastructure systems across the state.

"Most of us do not even notice infrastructure until it stops working, but over the long-term the economic costs to communities like River Rouge add up," said Mayor Bowdler. "It's time to change our mindset about our infrastructure. Without action, these systems will continue to get worse."

The Repair America resolution is an effort to recognize that these investments would impact job creation, and better protect communities from the impacts of climate change.

"From stronger storms to flooding to other dangers, we know that as our climate changes we're dealing with more extreme weather and disaster costs," said Rhonda Anderson, Senior Organizing Representative, Sierra Club. "Repairing our infrastructure will protect workers, the environment and communities and produce good jobs, while making our economy and the environment prosper."

Inefficient infrastructure creates more waste and carbon pollution driving climate change. For example, there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks a year. Replacing that leaked water requires energy to pump even more water, resulting in not just water waste, but energy waste as well. A Chicago State University study (http://www.csu.edu/cerc/researchreports/documents/CarbonFootprintofWater-RiverNetwork-2009.pdf) showed that by reducing the amount of water leaked annually in the U.S. by only 5 percent would result in saving enough energy to power 31,000 homes for a year and cut 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

"In signing this resolution today, Mayor Bowdler is setting a example of how local leaders can initiate a larger conversation about the importance of infrastructure so that the issue takes a higher priority," said Sue Browne, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. "Investing now will put people to work rebuilding pipes, roads, bridges, transit, and energy transmission systems. And, it will make our infrastructure systems more efficient, reducing energy and water waste, as well as carbon pollution that drives climate change."

"With the introduction of today's resolution, River Rouge joins many other communities across the country calling for investments to fix the basic systems people rely on every day that will create family-sustaining jobs, help address climate change, and ensure our communities are safer and healthier," added Browne.

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