Pipelines to Potholes: America's Ailing Infrastructure

Pipeline peril. After the San Bruno explosion, we look at questions about the nation’s infrastructure.

A natural gas line, the cause of the large explosion that killed at least seven people, lies broken on a San Bruno, Calif., road, Sept. 11, 2010. (AP)

Shocking scenes out of San Bruno California last week as, in the blink of an eye, a whole huge neighborhood went up in a massive fireball.  Multiple deaths, and 58 houses destroyed in a flash. 

The culprit: a natural gas pipeline buried under the town that erupted like a giant blow torch. 

The bad news:  there are towns all over this country sitting on risky gas pipelines. Sixty percent of US gas pipelines are more than four decades old. As of last year, some were still made of wood. 

We look at the San Bruno blast, the danger beneath our feet, and infrastructure issues in America.

-Tom Ashbrook


Will Kane, reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust.

Richard Kuprewicz, pipeline engineering expert, president of Accufacts, a pipeline safety company in Redmond, Washigton.

Robert Puentes, senior fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 25, 2015
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Pulitzer Prize winning Iowa writer Marilynne Robinson, arrives to the State Library of Iowa in the Ola Babcock Miller Building, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On the day before Thanksgiving, we talk with Marilynne Robinson – one of America’s greatest authors, thinkers, moralists — about fear and hope in a hard, frightening time.

Nov 25, 2015
A BBQ pork shoulder special with sweet potato hash and over easy eggs at Foster's Market in Durham, N.C. (Courtesy Foster's Market)

Bring your appetite! We’re gathering around the radio table with three chefs and new Thanksgiving recipes.

Nov 24, 2015
An archival image of a McKinley - Hobart Presidential Campaign Poster from 1896. (Public Domain / WikiCommons)

Republican political strategist Karl Rove is thinking about the McKinley 1896 campaign and the GOP field right now. Karl Rove is with us.

Nov 24, 2015
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 shows fuel tanks  hit during the attack of Russian warplanes in Syria. Russian warplanes on Monday attacked oil extraction, transport and refinement facilities in areas controlled by Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

ISIS, Inc. The terrorist organization is raking in billions –from oil, grain, antiquities, and taxes. We look at how to break the ISIS bank. Plus, Turkey downs a Russian plane. We’ll have the latest.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »
On Point Favorites For Your Holiday Travel
Friday, Nov 20, 2015

A few On Point staff favorites for your upcoming holiday travel listening pleasure.

More »