German infrastructure crumbling as bad as US in 2007 and on the way to as bad as US today

Flawless autobahns and punctual trains are as much a part of Germany’s image as Beethoven and Goethe. Germany’s famed infrastructure is starting to crumble.

The once-soaring bridges are sagging. Some railroad switching equipment, once top-of-the-line, has not been updated since the time of the kaisers. Well-engineered canal locks are succumbing to silt and neglect.

Bottlenecks are starting to crimp Germany’s export-driven economy, experts say. Even maintaining the status quo will require nearly doubling current spending levels, according to a recent report issued by a government commission.

And the quality of Germany’s infrastructure has been slipping in international rankings. Germany placed 10th in the world in 2013 in terms of quality of overall infrastructure, according to surveys by the World Economic Forum, down from third place in 2006. The United States was ranked 19th in 2013, down from eighth in 2006.

A McKinsey & Co. study in 2013 estimated that Germany needs to invest $69 billion in its roads to meet expected demand in the coming years.

The American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that the US needs to spend $3.6 trillion on infrastructure by 2020 to fix lingering problems and maintain existing infrastructure and to meet new demand

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