There are millions of miles of above-ground power lines bordering our streets and highways across the country. That's countless numbers of utility poles and cables disrupting views of our neighborhoods and scenic landscapes.
But these power lines aren't just an eyesore; they pose a real threat to our lives and our environment, especially as the effects of climate change become more and more severe.
Tell Congress: Undergrounding utility wires will make America more scenic and safe.
In California alone, thousands of fires have been sparked by trees toppling on to above-ground power lines. These fires ravage forests and level entire communities, leaving death and destruction in their wake.
In other parts of the country, more frequent winter storms and hurricanes often down power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity at a time they need it the most. Yet, despite knowing the dangers of above-ground power lines, there is no concerted federal government effort to switch to a system of underground lines. This leaves states and local communities to come up with their own patchwork of solutions. And with little federal financial support, state and local governments sometimes choose quick fixes rather than the best option: Undergrounding the power lines altogether.
The federal Highway Bill helps fund federal and public transportation, transportation research, intercity passenger rail, among other important infrastructure projects, but importantly, it doesn't include the undergrounding of power lines in its scope; making it exorbitantly costly for state and local governments to do it on their own.
The current Highway Bill expires in September and will need to be reauthorized again, so now is the perfect time to encourage lawmakers to include undergrounding projects in the new legislation.