The Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure is the Focus of a Series of Reports on PBS

October 20 – 24 series to air all week on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as part of Blueprint America – a broader public television initiative

America’s aging infrastructure means every day Americans face a host of transportation problems caused by crumbling roads & bridges; jammed airports; sprawling suburban developments; and crowded ports.  However, no comprehensive plan has been put in place to tackle how to build and grow an effective future.

NewsHour Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez travels the country, from Minneapolis to Boston, Philadelphia to Phoenix, and to the port of New Orleans for an eye-opening five-part series focusing not only on the neglect and underfunding of America’s decaying infrastructure, but on solutions for and new thinking about these pervasive problems.  Each night during the week of October 20 – 24, 2008, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer will feature one aspect of this growing problem and efforts to address them.

Monday: Crumbling Roads & Bridges – Ray Suarez travels to Pennsylvania, the state with more substandard bridges than any state in America, but without the funds to bring them up to standard.

Tuesday: Ports –  The widening of the Panama Canal is expected to be finished early next decade and ports on America’s Eastern Seaboard face increased competition to accommodate an expected influx of even more, even bigger container ships.  Ray Suarez travels to New Orleans, a port still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

Wednesday: Airports – Americans face crowded skies, crowded runways, and crowded terminals.  Suarez travels to Chicago home of one of the nation’s busiest airports to see the challenges facing the city as it struggles to alleviate the crowding problem.

Thursday: Sprawl – America’s suburbs have grown at a fast and furious pace.  Suarez travels to Buckeye, AZ a city of 25,000 just 40 miles west of Phoenix which expects to become a city of over 1 million to examine the challenges of quickly building the roads, schools, and sewerage to accommodate a rapidly growing population.

Friday: Big Dig – Suarez travels to Boston, home of “the Big Dig” a huge underground highway.  Although the project has been burdened by bad publicity and cost overruns, it has helped a 350 year old city overcome huge transportation problems and has reconnected the historic waterfront to the rest of the city.

About Blueprint America
Blueprint America is a precedent-setting new public television initiative from Thirteen/WNET with major support from the Rockefeller Foundation,  that will present a unique portfolio of content, including: original documentaries; individual segments produced in partnership with PBS’s news and public affairs and public radio outlets; and a comprehensive website at  In addition to the segments airing on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, segments will air on NOW with David Brancaccio and Worldfocus, PBS’ new nightly international public television news program.

About The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country (check local listings) and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast.  The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA, Washington, DC and Thirteen/WNET in New York.  Corporate funding for The NewsHour is provided by Chevron, Pacific Life and Vestas, along with major funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.