Is The Government Liable For Crumbling Infrastructure?

In a day and age during which an unheard of amount of money is spent on bolstering the U.S. military, and the government is experiencing a partial shutdown because no one wants to give Trump the $5 billion he wants for his wall, it should come as little surprise that we’re still not investing much money into the future. Our infrastructure is outdated, inefficient, and much of it is crumbling before our eyes. Is our government liable?

Sometimes. The biggest problem is that they’re not liable until something goes wrong. So much is going wrong, though, that we can hope legislators wake up to the need for more investment soon enough.

Flint, Michigan residents filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan–something normally impossible. The usual course of action is filing suit against the Court of Claims. This process usually saves the state a lot of money, and prevents legal entities from using tax dollars to form a fund for compensation. Residents have also filed lawsuits against Governor Snyder, the city’s emergency management agencies, engineers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to prevent the crisis.

If your car is damaged or you are injured because of a pothole or other road conditions that you can prove are negligent, then you can file a lawsuit against the local municipality or government in charge of maintenance. It’s not easy to prove negligence in court. It’s easier to make a case if there are other factors in play, such as bad street signage or debris in the road from construction. Sadly, there are also limits to how much you can sue the government for this type of injury or damage.

A lawsuit has been lodged against the FCC by two dozen cities and counties in order to complain about rules for the construction of 5G wireless equipment, a process that is still ongoing. In particular, the local governments in question are upset over FCC regulations that place limits on how much a phone company will have to pay when building their new equipment on public property. In addition, they contend that local municipalities aren’t being given enough time to review the equipment applications.

While these lawsuits seem fair on the surface, they also bring to light the problem that the government can be sued when they are trying to get certain types of infrastructure up and running as quickly as possible.