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View Diary: All Infrastructure Is Not Created Equal (284 comments)

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  •  Any city would welcome money (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, NDakotaDem, pkohan

    earmarked for repair only. My city in North Texas is replacing, with concrete, 50 and 60 year old asphalt curb and gutter just about everywhere. And my city is land locked and fairly maxed out with all the roads it will ever need except for perhaps in future small subdivisions. But those subdivision roads are generally built by developers (and as a side note they are usually very poorly built roads which will need repair).

    by plok on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 06:17:26 AM PST

    •  As I understand it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NDakotaDem, brein, plok

      the stimulus plan is to rebuild roads and bridges, not to build new ones.  At least that is what the Washington Post is reporting this morning, in this article here.

      I think any project that would involve something new would be looked upon with great disfavor. I suppose it is possible that there is a project like that out there, but with nearly all state and local governments in such dire straits, it is repair of the infrastructure that is of such major concern.

      But I do appreciate, Devilstower, the historical aspect of the diary.  I live in Syracuse, NY, which averages 100 inches of snow a year, sometimes we receive more.  That coupled with the temperatures really devastates our streets.  

      BTW, a shoutout to my local DPW, which manages to clear streets in 24 hours, and keeps main drags open DURING a storm.  That's with less equipment than we used to have.  We are expert at snow removal. In 1994, the snowplows led the St. Patrick's Day parade.  We had been pounded a couple of days before, and our guys were simply magnificent.  People cheered them.  They deserved it!

      We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

      by Mary Julia on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 06:49:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right -- the Obama Stimulus package is not (3+ / 0-)

        You're right here -- the upcoming Obama Stimulus package is NOT the forthcoming transit package.  Last night I went over the proposed list for Minnesota, and the emphasis seems to be on water quality packages -- drinking water, drainage from cultivated land, sewer systems and waste water treatment plants.  The Transit package, which will be the 5 year Transport Program, will come out of Jim Oberstar's committee in the House, and from what I have heard, the schedule is to debate and pass it this coming summer.  There may well be some "repair" projects in the Stimulus, but more likely you'll see speed up of existing projects.  

        Oberstar (comes from Duluth) likes bike trails and light rail -- but everyone should understand how long it takes to plan and acquire right away, do environmental studies and all on projects such as this, and if they are to be politically acceptable, all those processes have to be done right.  I suspect the emphasis in the upcoming Transportation Package will be on speed up of already planned light rail, replacement or major repair of existing bridges, and rebuilding major sections of interstate which is in pretty bad shape.  I notice New York City for instance gives priority to the mid-town cross Hudson rail tunnel, and fast track completion of the 2nd Avenue Subway. Both make sense, and will provide many jobs -- and cost lots.

        I have to disagree with Darktower on wages on the WPA projects.  Aside from a few administrators, everyone got the same wage, $22.00 per week.  Doesn't matter whether you were Orson Welles working on the Federal Theatre Project, or someone building a road someplace -- same wage, and in order to get on a project, you had to be flat broke and without a job.  On the CCC the pay was 30 dollars a month, with 25 sent home to your family, and just 5 dollars for spending money.  CCC was limited to young people 16-23.  Of course in the camps members got food and dorm facilities, health care and in many cases, access to GED programs for finishing High Schools.  All the camp's room and board were run by the Army -- the work projects were attached to other federal agencies -- Interior did the National Parks projects, Department of Agriculture did the Federal Forest Service programs, etc.  State Agencies also ran some programs -- state parks, urban parks and picnic areas and the like.  Local road building projects such as repaving city streets would have been State WPA projects.  State WPA directors were appointed by FDR and Harry Hopkins with agreement with the State's Senators and Congressional Delegations, as well as State Governors.

        While it is rewarding to see people thinking "blue sky" regarding substitute or new technologies here, that will not be part of the initial Stimulus or Oberstar's Transit Package.  Right now the point is Jobs and putting cash into the economy so as to reverse the downward spiral of the overall economy.  A year from now when Obama brings forth his Infrastructure Investment Bank -- that is where you will see the technological innovation.  

        By the way -- the reason CCC and WPA did airfields was not for the reasons you suspect.  George Marshall pointed out to FDR that if there was a war, we would need thousands and thousands of pilots and planes for them to fly -- this was in 1938.  So CCC and WPA stopped many existing programs, and started building airfields in places like Nebraska and Oklahoma and Texas -- places where you were not so likely to bean someone on the ground while training raw recruit pilots.  Marshall's insight, and his ability to see FDR because he had been building all his CCC camps since 1933, was a big factor in his moving to Staff in the War Department, and quickly jumping over hundreds of others and being named Army Chief of Staff.

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