"And when our infrastructure—our roads, our bridges, our water system, our rail system—is crumbling, there is more than enough work to do. Let’s rebuild our infrastructure, create millions of decent paying jobs."
The Context: Bernie Sanders has been making the rounds at large-crowd rallies with a speech (or similar versions) outlining his stance on a variety of issues as well as his proposals for many of them. The overarching theme of the speech is income inequality and economic injustice, whether discussing education, jobs, campaign finance, health care, banking reform, or (as in this statement) infrastructure investment. Throughout many of his speeches (including the following day in Arizona), he highlights the 2008 TARP bailout of Wall Street in conjunction with several of these issues, all of which he ties back to a systemic gap between the wealthy and the rest of America.
Soon after TARP, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed in February 2009 aimed toward simultaneous job creation and new investment in many of the country's heavy infrastructures. The program included funding for the sorts of infrastructural projects Sanders listed, with an emphasis on rail (even high-speed rail) and others to both update and advance the country's systems. Since then, many of the larger intended projects—and, notably, the rail projects—have not been implemented by state and local leaders.
Sanders is not alone in this point. Many candidates (for this race and others) consistently discuss massive infrastructure plans as a means toward many ends: job creation, technological and economic advancement, global competitiveness, and making America safer. Of course, there are many different ways to assess the condition of our infrastructures and whether it is up-to-par for the 21st Century. Considering the track currently in place, we figured taking stock of the accidents that may have been avoided if it weren't for the state of tracks, mechanical systems, roadbeds, or communications systems, might be the most basic measure. And so, we asked