Running through this interesting Popular Mechanics slideshow on old infrastructure I was struck by the note that a water pipe built in 1895 with a 100-120 year life expectancy burst a few weeks ago and they are investigating the cause of the break. Doing the math this is 119 years, that water pipe has been on duty. It was time. In a well planned government, as infrastructure gets near its expected lifespan, you would expect that taxes would start being set aside for replacement so that when the inevitable happens the government wouldn’t have to go into debt to pay for the replacement, costing the taxpayers extra money. While some of that does, in fact, go on, borrowing to pay for infrastructure replacement is pretty common. Personalize this and people get interested.

Part of the Citizen Intelligence ecosystem will be convincing governments to publish their infrastructure inventories online as a matter of routine. It’s just the right thing to do. It’s not that expensive to do it, and you get all sorts of downstream uses for that data like lowering the overall cost of government by taxing to pay for infrastructure instead of constantly going to the bond market for utterly predictable expenses.

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