Submitted by ub on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 18:23

While constant building tragedies used to be rare in The Big Apple, NYC aging infrastructure will increasingly be responsible for disasters, disruptions and deficits. Officials mow estimate that billions are needed. So why has so little been accomplished?

Public safety officials will need to carefully investigate the cause of today's building collapse on Manhattan's East Side, which has caused multiple injuries. Early signs point to 100-year-old, cast-iron lines that serve NYC's 6,300 + miles of gas mains that are extremely old. Over half are made of unprotected steel, which is corrosive and cause leaks. This aging network of gas mains and service lines is responsible for thousands of yearly gas leaks across the city's five Burroughs.

New York City’s bridges, water mains, sewer pipes, school buildings, and other infrastructure is more than 50 years old and also in dire need of repair. Throughout the city, 1,000 miles of water mains, nearly 200 school buildings and over 150 bridges were built over a century ago. NYC’s public hospitals are over 50 years old, and more than 500 public housing towers were built prior to 1950.

In the wake of today's blast, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other New York officials including those from the utility company that provides natural gas will have to repair and replace the aging gas distribution system to prevent similar disasters in the future. Throughout the city, utility and transportation infrastructure is decaying and in need of immediate attention.

As today's tragedy illustrates, the consequences of failing to maintain and repair existing infrastructure can cause chaos. Without immediate, sustained and generous investment in its core infrastructure, New York’s health, safety and quality of life will surely drop.