I’m not talking about the economy … or even politics or other social issues that plague out current news cycle.
America is literally falling apart … our roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Everything that physically keeps our country together is starting to fall apart.
One in every 13 bridges has been marked as structurally deficient. And 38% of bridges in the U.S. have been identified as needing some sort of repairs. The worst part … Americans cross these bridges 178 million times every day.
One could attempt to make the argument that reduced travel in 2020 helped lengthen the lifespan of these resources. But in reality, Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and United Postal Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS) drivers picked up that slack. The serious backlog of road, bridge and transit system repairs need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
The American Society of Civil Engineers releases a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure conditions every four years in the format of a simple “A” to “F” style report card. At last look in 2017, the ASCE rated the overall condition of the nation’s infrastructure a cumulative “D+”.
Roads haven’t gotten a passing grade in the past 20 years.
Politics Plus Technology Pave the Way
As I mentioned on Thursday, President-elect Biden has already expressed that he wants to modernize infrastructure. And this will be no small feat. At the last publication of the report card back in 2017, it was estimated that improvements would be $4.5 trillion.
Four years later, that number surely hasn’t gone down. This is where advances in technology come in.
Before bridges and roadways can even be fixed, there is intense prep work that needs to be done. Photos need to be collected, damage needs to be assessed and crews need to be dispatched.
Fortunately, modern technology has made this job much easier with the use of artificial intelligence and drones.
Drones can take lots of pictures from all angles of a bridge without lunch breaks or safety equipment. What would take a team of humans a month could take a drone a couple of hours. Plus, once a drone is programmed, it can take the photos at set intervals in exactly the same way to track wear and tear.
Artificial intelligence will be able to assist in sorting through all the collected data and in assigning levels of criticalness. This will be the only way to keep the costs down now and in the future.
Bringing Home More Poor Grades
The 2021 Engineer’s report card is bound to be even worse than the prior. And for the first time, this one will grade the stormwater infrastructure that protects communities from flooding and waterways from pollution.
How many times can you bring home bad grades before mom and dad do something about it?
Like I said Wednesday, the Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF (BATS: PAVE) is a good place to start. The companies tracked in this ETF are sure to see gains in 2021 and beyond.
I’m going to keep a firm look at this industry. Just yesterday, readers of my newsletter Wealth Megatrends got all the details about my favorite company set to benefit from this trend. If you want all the details, be sure to click here.
All the best,