Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "infrastructure" ...

  • Pennsylvania Turnpike investigation

    WTAE TV revealed waste, mismanagement and conflicts of interest at the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Emails showed turnpike officials congratulating themselves for their response to a storm that left more than 500 drivers stranded for more than 20 hours. Records revealed turnpike commissioners getting take-home cars even though they meet only once a month. Documents showed a turnpike commissioner cutting personal business deals with turnpike vendors. All this occurred as the turnpike hiked tolls and cut back on projects to deal with a financial crisis.
  • Hollow Columns

    At least 22 highway bridges in Washington state sit on hollow concrete columns that are at risk of instantaneous implosion in a major earthquake. The state doesn’t know how to fix them. In addition, the state knows of 474 bridges that are at risk of crumbling in a big quake. The state has insufficient funds to fix them. Highways that are part of the Puget Sound region’s “seismic lifeline” emergency aid routes were found by KUOW to contain dozens of seismically vulnerable bridges. The state does not publish the totality of its infrastructure needs, in contrast to its seismic cousin California. Until KUOW published a map showing the locations of the endangered bridges, no such public information was available.
  • BOOM: North America’s Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem

    Emergency orders, safety alerts and sweeping regulatory proposals gave the public the sense that Washington responded appropriately after a train filled with North Dakota oil destroyed a small Quebec town in July 2013—but our investigation, "BOOM," shows the regulatory process has failed.
  • Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes

    A USA TODAY investigation, in collaboration with affiliated Gannett newspapers and television stations across the U.S., found tens of thousands of miles of aging gas pipes lurking beneath American cities and towns despite the cast-iron and bare-steel gas pipes being the subject of safety warnings by the NTSB, safety advocates and regulators for decades. The data-and-documents driven investigation delved into the make and safety of natural gas pipes operated by every utility in the United States, shining light on some cities with some of the oldest, leakiest natural gas mains across the United States in a national story, television package and a digital interactive that let users see the age and safety record for communities where they live and work, compared to national norms.
  • BOOM - North America's Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem

    Emergency orders, safety alerts and sweeping regulatory proposals gave the public the sense that Washington responded appropriately after a train filled with North Dakota oil killed 47 and destroyed the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic in July 2013—but the report shows that 18 months later little has changed and the regulatory process has failed. The story documents the extent to which the regulation of train cars is left almost entirely to the industry. And it matters now because of the massive increase in explosive cargo from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That fuel is rich in volatile natural gas liquids. If a railcar ruptures—and if some of the gas comes into contact with the outside air and a spark occurs—the railcar will explode and act as a blow torch on the car next to it. With each car carrying roughly 30,000 gallons of oil, a single, 100-car train can haul as much as 3 million gallons of oil. Among the key findings about the lack of federal regulation: not enough government inspectors; little oversight of railroad bridges; state and local governments can’t independently assess the condition of local rail infrastructure; and meager penalties.
  • Cyber Rattling: The Next Threat

    This series of exclusive examinations of weaknesses in personal commercial uses of computer networks helped shaped the discussion on protecting America's cyber infrastructure.
  • Falling Apart

    The roads and bridges Americans drive on every day are in dire need of repair or replacement - many of them are "on life support." Nearly 70,000 bridges in the U.S. are deemed structurally deficient - that's one out of every nine bridges in the country. Steve Kroft reports on the critical condition of America's infrastructure and why the problem persists.
  • Money Down the Drain

    In Money Down the Drain, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporters explored whether there is a less costly, greener alternative to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s $3 billion plan to manage stormwater and sewage by boring giant tunnels beneath the region. The series mapped the district’s history of favoring so-called “gray infrastructure” to comply with federal clean water laws and debunked sewer officials’ claims that green technologies – such as water retention ponds - would inherently be more costly than tunnels. The reporters researched the efficacy of alternative sewer management plans and visited Philadelphia, considered by many to be leading a movement by U.S. cities considering greener solutions to their messy sewage overflow problems. The four-part series concluded with an examination of potential opportunities to transform large expanses of vacant property in Cleveland into park-like stormwater retention features. The team did not set out to prove that green infrastructure is superior to tunnels. Rather, they aimed to expose the district’s failure so far to consider alternatives that officials in other cities believe could save their ratepayers millions – if not billions – of dollars, while driving home to readers just how much the tunnels will cost them. Within a month of the series’ conclusion, sewer district officials announced that they would spend $900,000 on green projects near a major road expansion program and pledged to study the possibility of replacing large stretches of the planned tunnel with green infrastructure.
  • Ebola Crisis: Unprepared in Dallas

    For months in the summer of 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned the country’s health-care community that an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Western Africa could make its way here. The feds assured the public that America’s modern medical resources and infrastructure could avert a crisis. We were told hospitals had prepared and trained their staffs, using CDC guidelines, to address a virus they had never seen. Yet in late September, when a Liberian man named Thomas Eric Duncan walked into a Dallas emergency room with fever, headache and abdominal pains, his doctor and nurses found him unremarkable – just another of the night’s many victims of mishap and contagion. He was sent away after a few hours with antibiotics. None of the caregivers realized the encounter would soon become part of U.S. medical history.
  • KVUE Defenders: Dangerous gas pipes

    When a young father is killed in his own home by a gas explosion it rattled more than just his neighborhood. KVUE set out to find out not only what caused his death, but if it could happen to anyone else. What they uncovered was a decades long history of concern over cast iron gas pipes and that thousands of miles of those same pipes were still in neighborhoods across Austin, Texas and the rest of the country. Their investigation has drastically improved the safety of thousands of Central Texas homeowners and opened the door for others to learn about the pipes outside their home.