By Emily Barone
October 13, 2016

While most politicians speak favorably about infrastructure projects, funding them is a different story. That’s why cash-strapped cities and states are struggling to maintain the bridges, tunnels and roads that citizens count on. Federal funds are shrinking too. Take the federal Highway Trust Fund. It routinely runs dry because its primary funding–a tax on gasoline–hasn’t kept up with inflation since 1994. Historically, major investments like the transcontinental railroad and interstate highways stemmed from obvious public need. But today’s vital need is routine upkeep, which is easy to ignore–until something goes wrong.

INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING

Transportation and water projects accounted for 2.7% of total federal spending in recent years–less than half of its peak of almost 6% in 1965

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see a hardcopy for actual chart.]

INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING AS % OF FEDERAL SPENDING

6%

4

2.7%

2

0

1960

’70

’80

’90

2000

2014

The U.S. ranked

19TH in transport infrastructure spending as a percentage of GDP in 2014 among 28 advanced countries

CANDIDATES’ PLANS

Hillary Clinton is proposing to spend $275 billion over five years to rebuild and modernize infrastructure, funded through business tax reform. She also plans to establish a national infrastructure bank to provide loans, loan guarantees and other forms of credit for public-works projects.

Donald Trump has repeatedly said that infrastructure is a problem, though he has provided few details on how to address it. In an August interview with Fox Business, he said he would spend “at least double” the amount in Clinton’s plan. Funding would come from issuing bonds, he added.

MORE DIRE

LESS DIRE

LEVEES

Many levees originally designed to protect farmland are now used to protect residential areas that are home to some 14 million people. The risk of flooding is a concern as water levels rise. Nearly 85% of the nation’s levees are locally owned and operated.

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

7%

Acceptable

64%

Minimally

29%

Unacceptable

About 1 in 3 of the nation’s levees is in “unacceptable condition,” which means that one or more inspection points would prevent the system from working.

THE FIX

State and local governments will need to fund the majority of levee repairs, which, altogether, could exceed

$100 BILLION

AIRPORTS

The country’s air-traffic control primarily relies on a 1960s radar system, rather than more modern satellite technology. This limits efficiency into and out of airports.

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

798M

Passengers

600M

300

0

1985

2015

In addition to upgrading air-traffic control, airports need to make improvements to handle the influx of travelers. To cope, Boeing is planning to roll out a massive airliner that can fold its wings in order to fit at smaller gates.

THE FIX

The FAA has been rolling out a new air-traffic control system since 2007. The project, which will continue over the next 10 years, will cost an estimated

$32 BILLION

DRINKING WATER

The drinking-water crisis in Flint, Mich., raised awareness of America’s aging pipelines. About 90% of the country depends on public water systems. While the conditions of many of these systems are unknown, it’s likely that many will deteriorate in the coming decades.

9,000 Olympic-size swimming pools of drinking water are lost daily from leaks

Water networks generally last 75 to 120 years. Most pipes were installed in the years after World War II, though some of the oldest systems, like Philadelphia’s, date back to the Civil War.

THE FIX

The EPA estimated in 2011 that maintaining or replacing pipes, treatment plants, storage tanks and other assets over the next 20 years will cost

$384 BILLION

HIGHWAYS

A third of the nation’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. City highways are the worst off. The resulting congestion costs drivers time and fuel. Commuters in the largest cities now spend 63 hours a year in traffic on average.

THE FIX

To improve roads, the FHA has recommended raising yearly investment by 87%, to

$170 BILLION

ELECTRIC GRID

Electricity is getting a makeover as smart meters, which better manage power, become common. But the grid is still vulnerable to physical and cyber attacks. A security-advisory firm found that half of the 1,000 utility substations it inspected last year were secured by only a padlock.

THE FIX

Upgrades and repairs to the grid between now and 2025 will cost

$934 BILLION

BRIDGES

If all the country’s deficient bridges were linked from end to end, they would run from Washington, D.C., to Denver. About 75% of them were built more than 50 years ago. Most were not designed for today’s traffic loads.

THE FIX

The Federal Highway Administration estimated in 2010 that fixing all the nation’s deficient bridges would cost

$106 BILLION

[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]

PERCENTAGE OF HIGHWAY BRIDGE AREA THAT IS STRUCTURALLY DEFICIENT

0

15%+

WASH.

ORE.

CALIF.

MONT.

IDAHO

NEV.

ARIZ.

WYO.

13.3%

COLO.

LOW

UTAH, TEXAS

1.3%

N.M.

ALASKA

HAWAII

N.D.

S.D.

NEB.

KANS.

OKLA.

MINN.

IOWA

10.8%

MO.

ARK.

LA.

WIS.

ILL.

MISS.

MICH.

IND.

OHIO

KY.

TENN.

ALA.

N.H.

VT.

MAINE

MASS.

N.Y.

CONN.

PA.

N.J.

HIGH

R.I.

20.9%

DEL.

MD.

W.VA.

VA.

N.C.

S.C.

GA.

FLA.

2.4%

RAIL

Having enough track capacity for both passenger and freight is one of the biggest challenges facing U.S. rails, particularly in urban areas, where public-transit needs are greatest.

48 HOURS

Time it takes a load of freight to travel from L.A. to Chicago

30 HOURS

Time it takes that load to pass through Chicago

Chicago is one of the country’s worst bottlenecks, with a quarter of all rail traffic moving in and out of the city. Construction is under way to address the problem. The project will cost $4.4 billion, but only $1.3 billion has been funded so far.

THE FIX

Investments to meet future demand on the busy rails between Boston and Washington, D.C., will cost

$10 BILLION

SOLID WASTE

The U.S. has made huge strides in recycling since the 1990s. Still, when it comes to reducing the 167 million tons of annual landfill waste, there’s considerable room for improvement:

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

Where trash goes

53%

Discarded

34%

Recycled

13%

Combusted for energy

Despite recycling materials like plastic and paper regularly, Americans continue to toss the majority of their food waste (which emits gases in landfills) and electronics (which leak toxic substances).

THE FIX

To keep up facilities through 2020, hazardous-and solid-waste site maintenance will run

$56 BILLION

SOURCES: OECD; CBO; GAO; ASCE; EPA; FAA; DOT; U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS; BOEING; WSJ; AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION; CENTER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD TECHNOLOGY; CIRCLE OF BLUE; NEW YORK TIMES; TEXAS A&M TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE; TRANSPORTATION FOR AMERICA; WASHINGTON POST; CREATE PROGRAM; CATO INSTITUTE

Contact us at editors@time.com.

This appears in the October 24, 2016 issue of TIME.

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