China can help fix US crumbling infrastructure

Updated: 2016-09-01 13:22

By Chen Weihua(

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China can help fix US crumbling infrastructure

In this photo taken Nov 15, 2015, a passengers points to the subway map at the Union Station Metro Station, part of the public transit network for Washington.[Photo/IC]

I was rushing to catch my train in Union Station in Washington last Wednesday when I tripped over an uneven piece of pavement on the platform and hurt my ankle, only slightly. Exiting New York's Penn Station a few hours later on Seventh Avenue, I saw the exact same thing happen to a woman, only she looked much worse off than me and had to lean on her husband to walk.

A day later, a Chinese friend who visited the US for the first time was shocked to see the poor road conditions in Manhattan. The potholes in New York City far outnumber those in Shanghai or Beijing, she said. She could not understand why the Big Apple has done nothing or so little given that the 71st session of the UN General Assembly will be held in September, with the arrival of more than 100 world leaders.

In China, it would have been a total facelift like people saw ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou.

New York City, often ranked top among world cities, unfortunately also ranks sixth among the 10 US cities with the worst pothole problems. Other cities that made into the top 10 include Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Bridgeport (Connecticut), Tucson, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, with LA being the worst.

A report released in January by TRIP, a Washington-based national transportation research group, rated 51 percent of the roads in the New York City metro area in poor condition, 31 percent mediocre and only 5 percent and 13 percent in fair and good condition, respectively.

Nationwide, potholes cost American drivers $6.4 billion each year, according to another report. The American Society of Civil Engineers says that fixing crumbling infrastructure would cost taxpayers $2.7 trillion. The same group gave a D+ to the overall US infrastructure conditions back in 2013 in a study conducted once every four years.

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