America's roads, bridges and dams are slowly crumbling on top of us, and there's no longer enough funding for routine inspection, let alone maintenance, of all this unsexy infrastructure. Enter John Oliver, who tried Sunday night to do for infrastructure repairs what he did last year for net neutrality.
The main thing to know about the issue is that the funding to repair our thousands of 50-year-old, rarely inspected dams and our bridges so crumbly that they have other bridges underneath them to catch falling concrete (shout out Pittsburgh) is supposed to come from the federal gas tax. But the gas tax is hugely unpopular and hasn't been increased since the early '90s, which means it was outpaced by inflation. Now the trust established for these purposes is basically broke. Oops!
Business, labor, Democrats and Republicans all agree infrastructure is a big, important, albeit not sexy issue. So what's being done to fund it? Fuck all, effectively.
The Obama administration favors closing a corporate tax loophole, which is a fine thing to do, but not a guaranteed way to bring in revenue. There's always another loophole.
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner stresses the need for "a long-term program that is, in fact, funded." He's been on a hunt for that source of funding for the past 2 years, with apparently zero result, and his office refused to answer Oliver's questions about where the money might come from.
It's okay, though: These bridges have a few decades of life left in them. We can just wait until they fall and let future generations clean them up. Sure beats paying more for gas.