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American Infrastructure’s “Technical Debt”

by Ahmed Kabil on November 4th, 02019

The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, U.S., October 27, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam – RC1E050253E0

With fires burning in California again, Alexis Madrigal has written a piece in The Atlantic on the technical debt embedded in America’s infrastructure:

A kind of toxic debt is embedded in much of the infrastructure that America built during the 20th century. For decades, corporate executives, as well as city, county, state, and federal officials, not to mention voters, have decided against doing the routine maintenance and deeper upgrades to ensure that electrical systems, roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure can function properly under a range of conditions. Kicking the can down the road like this is often seen as the profit-maximizing or politically expedient option. But it’s really borrowing against the future, without putting that debt on the books.

-Alexis Madrigal, “The Toxic Bubble of Technical Debt Threatening America” in The Atlantic.