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Interstate 35 bridge collapse
It's better when our bridges don't collapse.
There are 63,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States. Let that sink in for a minute.

Then ask yourself: How is this not seen as a national scandal? After all, even though "structurally deficient" doesn't necessarily mean "likely to collapse tomorrow," we have seen some major bridge collapses in recent years, and 63,000 is a lot of bridges. Collectively, these bridges are crossed 250 million times a day. So again, why is this not something the government is aggressively working to fix? Oh, wait:

With an ample boost in federal money, $100.2 billion was spent by governments on all levels in 2010 on capital improvements for the nation’s 604,493 bridges and 4.1 million miles of roads.

That sort of spending brought progress in the first decade of the 21st century, leading to a slight decline in the number of deficient bridges.

But with much of the nation’s post-World War II infrastructure wearing out and the federal gas tax that built it steadily declining, experts say more than 1 trillion dollars of investment is need to shore it up.

That's right, it would require the government spending money to bring 63,000 bridges up to standard. Therefore, not only does it not rank at the top of the Republican priorities list, it's almost seen as some kind of outrage to suggest, even though it would be a major job creator. You don't put $1 trillion into bridges without taxing someone, after all, and low taxes rank well above jobs on that Republican priorities list. Hey, maybe if Republicans cut our taxes enough, we'll be able to afford rowboats for when bridges become a weird 20th-century anachronism.

In the shorter term, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association suggests posting signs identifying bridges as structurally deficient. That's a great idea—want to bet politicians would get a lot more pressure on this issue if every time anyone crossed a structurally deficient bridge, they passed a sign labeling it as such?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 11:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sad (10+ / 0-)

    We've piled on $10-15 trillion worth of debt in this country in the past 25 years and seemingly not a dime went to any real infrastructure upgrades.

    Now that we can't put it off any longer no one seems interested in paying the bill that is coming due.

    I guess we will just have to condition ourselves to the reality of falling bridges and crumbling roads.

    •  Maybe it's time for a website listing every (13+ / 0-)

      Congressperson and every Senator, and each of their votes for and against infrastructure funding. And how many bridges are on the "structurally deficient" list in each of their districts and states.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. But we can't have both." - Justice Louis Brandeis

      by flitedocnm on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:18:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, this issue needs to be back (14+ / 0-)

      on the front burner.
         The thing is that we're not only in dire need of structural repair work all over the Nation, but we've got people out there that need the work as well.

        It's time to bring the Jobs bill back up, particularly now that we're in an election year, and the GOP will have to answer to the People if they continue to oppose it.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:34:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  transparancy (5+ / 0-)

      problem is there's no way to know how the bridge you are about to cross will pay off in the great about-to-fall-down sweepstakes. I'd like to see a huge blotch of paint on the entrances to every bridge that indicates it's relative safety, sort of the like the immortal homeland security color scale, with red meaning it could fall at any minute, orange meaning it has about a year to live, etc. The bridge engineers can develop and publish the color scale, and we all can know how much neglect our local infrastructure is suffering. Then the infrastructure deficit could become much more visible, and we can consider how 'fiscal deficit' weighs against infrastructure deficit in considering the debt we don't want to pass on to our grandchildren. Maybe the grandkids will be exceptionally agile and able to put up with falling bridges, or more prosperous and able to pay the higher future costs, making it comfortable for us to delay. We could also apply the color scale to our air traffic control system and other national infrastructure.  

    •  The wealthiest nation on Earth can't afford basic (3+ / 0-)

      infrastructure maintenance?
      Go figure, how does that happen?
      But then again a huge portion of the wealth of the wealthiest nation on Earth is in overseas bank accounts and tax shelters.

      We've outsourced America's future to worship at the altar of profit.

      •  To busy paying for unfunded, unneeded wars (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, niemann, Hetrose, maryabein

        and pumping billions into a bloated military complex.

        If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

        by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:54:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When in Rome do as the romans did (0+ / 0-)

          The Bridges and roads laid out and build by the Legions are still in use or form the foundation of many contemporary roads not to mention their city locations are still viable today.

          Ergo let the military, Corps of Engineers work on the infrastructure. Look at the Pentagon Gen Grove, think he was a Col. then, build a structure that still stands, is in service and survived the crash of an airliner.

          So do many of the structures build during the 30s.

      •  Isn't that what part of the gas tax goes for? (0+ / 0-)

        Our infrastructure.
        Plent of money to pay for coups and buying puppet dictators, and everything that has to do with wars.
        But our safety on the roads and our social programs are always broke.
        Especially programs to help our vets.

        Nobel peace prize winner Barack Obama did not just pick up that 3:00 am phone call, but, as has been noted, he mostly stayed on the phone making war and sending out drones for his entire terms in office.

        by snoopydawg on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:51:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's just part of the anti-tax (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, LEP

      propaganda on the right. Nothing more, nothing less. Concrete roads and bridges have a life of around 50 years. If your local or state government isn't saving for your children's roads/repairs then ultimately the future leaders' attitude will be to allow those older communities to simply die a slow death. As we see over and over most funding goes toward new roads in new subdivisions for new money.

      There's no national, unified pride in America. It's not sustainable. Right now there's a lobbying effort in Texas to take the "rainy day" fund, which Perry originally wanted to return to the gas industry, and use it to build new roads in new areas. All the while ignoring education, healthcare, old city improvements. And they get the luxury of being able to say it's not a "new" tax, which is all they really give a shit about in the first place.  

      "I feel badly about the kids," the unknown person said. "I guess." [but] "They are [only] the children of Buono voters," Wildstein replied.

      by plok on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:26:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How is this not seen as a national scandal? (0+ / 0-)


        •  It's more than that (0+ / 0-)

          it's republican hostility to cities. Evident in their constant hatred of diverse populations. And who can forget Dennis Hastert's statement that New Orleans should be abandoned?

          Republicans don't want to offer great achievements to history in the forms of functioning, maintained cities. They want to build their fortunes in walled-in private compounds where they hoard their cash and influence.  

          "I feel badly about the kids," the unknown person said. "I guess." [but] "They are [only] the children of Buono voters," Wildstein replied.

          by plok on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 05:58:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Because we have been at each others throats (0+ / 0-)

          about social issues to the detriment of almost everything else. And ACA rightfully sucked a lot of air out of the room.

          New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

          by AlexDrew on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:38:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, war is expensive! (0+ / 0-)

      How can one expect the government to spend on things like bridges when engaged in the most expensive military exercise in all time?  What's more important - chasing shadows in foreign lands with expensive toys, or ensuring that the needs of the country's citizens are met?

      Actually, I live in a country where the roads and bridges make those in the US look great; but, then again, this is a poor banana republic.  

      It is a shame that the US has squandered so many resources (especially the human lives) on its aggressive acts.  As its longest wars are winding down, what will the future hold?  Apparently, the US has many military options presenting themselves.  Good luck on getting any bridge repairs!

  •  I know people (12+ / 0-)

    who barely missed the 35W bridge crash. (One had literally just crossed it when it collapsed behind her.) This is an issue that isn't hypothetical. It's real.

    And not only is it dangerous, it's long-term crippling economically. We need an effective transportation infrastructure in order to do what we do every day.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:01:29 PM PDT

    •  Yes, my sister drove over that bridge (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      several times a week to go to work.  Luckily she didn't happen to have to work on that side of town that day.

      •  Where I worked at the time (0+ / 0-)

        was near Como and Snelling in St. Paul. The way the roads are laid out in the region, literally nobody who worked there would ordinarily take the 35W bridge home. I was lucky that way.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 01:24:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A few Republicans need to be riding over... (8+ / 0-)

    ...some of those bridges, especially with a near-miss here and there. That'll wake `em up.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:02:36 PM PDT

  •  This should be the new WPA project, if our (15+ / 0-)

    government was thinking rationally.

    "To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all." - Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

    by blueoregon on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:03:10 PM PDT

  •  National Parks (14+ / 0-)

    There's also billions in maintenance needed throughout the National Park system. NPS is consistently one of the most beloved and favorite of the federal agencies.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:03:56 PM PDT

    •  about 12 bilion, or 6 times the NPS budget (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, niemann

      if we spent 100 billion annually on the environment- EPA, NPS NFS revive the CCC etc. not only could we eliminate the backlogs in a year or so, we could drastically expand the number of monuments and parks in this country. 100 billion, or 1/6th of the defense budget or 5 times the combined budget of the EPA, FWSm, NFs and NPS. that 100 billion would put millions to work over the course of 10 years.

  •  It has been 31 years (13+ / 0-)

    since the Mianus River Bridge collapse on I-95 near Greenwich, CT.  There was a brief spat of bridge checking and then nothing serious.  In Waterbury there is a hideous structure called the mixmaster -- multiple layers of ramps over the worst highway in the State -- I-84.  I rarely use that highway but when I do I have to go under the mixmaster.

    Here's an interactive map of many of the bridges.  Save Our Bridges

    Here's a breakdown by State of the structurally deficient bridges.  

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:08:00 PM PDT

  •  Bill Clinton ran for office promising (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, greengemini

    to invest in infrastructure. Yet here we are today with crumbling bridges and roads. Congress screams that we are too far in debt to spend money on anything--that their corporate masters don't want, that is.

    With the 1% consolidating their grip on the reins of power, I'm not optimistic that this important issue will be addressed.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:59:55 PM PDT

  •  Add in the Functionally Obsolete ones. (4+ / 0-)

    That's a lot of 'em to think about.

    Meanwhile, the truck-Hiway lobby wants even heavier trucks allowed.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:07:21 PM PDT

    •  Functionally Obsolete (0+ / 0-)

      essentially means that the engineers would love to plop down 18 lanes of highway, but the bridge only carries 8. Or there are no shoulders (which may be dangerous on a long bridge, but not so bad on a short or low-traffic bridge).

      warning: snark probably above

      by NE2 on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 07:57:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or the lanes are 8 feet wide and (0+ / 0-)

        The state Hiway guys don't have the cojones to keep 80,000 pound trucks off it. It's two lanes and dates to Ca 1930.

        I can show you one. It's fascinating. In 1990 the predicted life was 20 years. Every year since then, the predicted life is 20 years.

        It's like the Fountain of Youth.

        I also think they get Lifetime Engineering Points for getting the road as close as possible to historic properties built in the 1700 and 1800s.

        Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

        by dadadata on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 04:31:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  good point (0+ / 0-)

        Cities are good for the environment

        by citydem on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:18:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In the context of the report cited, "structurally (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, NE2

    deficient" does not mean 'dangerous.' It's a technical term. All it means is that the bridge would be eligible to receive federal funding if it were to be replaced or receive major maintenance work.

    I think the construction industry chose the term knowing that it would be deliberately misleading and alarmist.

    •  It also may mean that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      weight limits have had to be reduced. Which is a perfectly fine thing to do when reasonable alternate routes exist. A lot of these are historic bridges that are worthy of preserving.

      For example, this bridge was built in 1988, and carries a one-lane barely-paved road over a small creek. It serves a wildlife management area and gets 20 vehicles per day.

      A highway bridge is classified as structurally deficient if the deck, superstructure, substructure, or culvert is rated in "poor" condition (0 to 4 on the NBI rating scale). A bridge can also be classified as structurally deficient if its load carrying capacity is significantly below current design standards or if a waterway below frequently overtops the bridge during floods.
      The 'alarming' category is 'fracture critical' - ones where a failure of one member can bring a collapse.

      Here's a site that lets you search the database to find structurally deficient bridges: "FRAC CRI" or a variant is included in the 'crosses' column if the bridge is fracture critical (not all of these are structurally deficient).

      warning: snark probably above

      by NE2 on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 08:11:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone should just follow Oklahoma's lead (3+ / 0-)

    When  faced with crumbling infrastructure, education that is ridiculously underfunded, state workers who have not had a pay increase in years and one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, cut taxes! It's brilliant. As our genius governor has declared this will be the best course of action in the long run. Which I take to mean sometime after she has left office and no longer has to think about it.

    Reminds me of Bush, Jr.

    •  Per some fool's letter in the Tulsa World (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, hnichols, Amber6541

      Oklahoma has the fifth highest taxation rate in the country! I just can't wait for my $45 tax rebate.

      Tulsa World is also a bonafide mouth piece of the .01%. Buffet has bought. To pay of the loan they are dropping comic strips. Doonesbury is gone, so is Mallard Filmore, plus Judge something and that Dr saga. I am waiting for the contracts for Non Sequitur and Red and Rover to run out.

      The police blotter is given more coverage than ever. Got to keep the red base fearful of crime.

      •  I didn't know Mallard Fillmore was still being (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh, hnichols

        drawn. I always wanted to break Mallard's beak with a sledgehammer. Never could figure out how the supposedly Christian artist, Bruce Tinsley, could specialize in hateful caricatures of hated LIBERALS.

        •  That would be the Bruce Tinsley (0+ / 0-)

          who has also had multiple DUI arrests, I believe.

        •  I'd gladly overlook the damn duck (0+ / 0-)

          If the Tulsa World would bring Doonesbury back. God knows with their reduced size, a multisection tabloid really, they have the space.

          Unfortunately conservatives have zero sense of humor. Based on my experience around work the priorities are: obits, police blotter, classifieds for 'good deals" on what ever stuff someone else miss spent their money on and sports.

          Then they give validation to some schnooks letter to the editor, while complaining about the paper being a liberal rag, like the Wall Street Journal. No kidding that happened to me years ago when the WSJ was still a reliable news source.

          •  I was actually trying to get a job in OKC years (0+ / 0-)

            ago, figuring the Aaaaaaaih Fawwwce would have plenty of work at Tinker. No joy. Just as well, I suppose, given the tornadoes (and who builds an AF base where there are tornadoes?) and the conservative crapola of OK.

  •  Republicans know that no money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    needs to be spent on bridges.  All the rich Republican donors use helicopters and jets to travel from place to place and aircraft do not use bridges.

    •  Spending Money (0+ / 0-)

      But when everyday people barely make enough to set aside for their retirement, for the maintenance of their personal future so it is not deficient - except for what they put into SS - then they are irresponsible, lazy, bad citizens whose only desire is to gorge at the public trough.

      "The French have no word for entrepreneur!" G. W. Bush

      by bbuudd on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 07:08:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Only 63,000 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, greengemini, Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541

    I would have expected more.  There are 192 structurally deficient bridges in my county.  It's not that big of a county either.  About 25-30 miles to the farthest border, but if you made a circle that big there would likely be another hundred or so structurally deficient bridges in it.

  •  How Many Bridges Could Be Repaired? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541

    With the money we wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  •  In case you missed it and are interested... (3+ / 0-)

    I wrote a diary about the new bridge in my hometown.  It replaced a structurally-deficient bridge that scored only 33 out of 100 on the sufficiency scale.

  •  The Bush Follies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, flavor411, Amber6541

    History will record that one of the great tragedies of U.S. history was that the upswing in American patriotic energy to achieve great things that arose out of 9/11 occurred on the watch of a President who did not believe in using government for good.

    Instead, we got the Bush tax cuts and the Bush war on Iraq.

    We should have the finest and most up to date infrastructure on earth.

    I try to maintain a peaceful and positive outlook.  But turning on the television and seeing the unrepentant faces of W, Rumsfeld and Cheney, living out their retirements in ease and plenty makes my stomach turn...

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:29:07 PM PDT

  •  Scarier still is that this may even be true of... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    brand new ones. (Never underestimate the power of incompetence and corruption!)

    "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius." -- Arnaud Amaury

    by terremoto on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:57:40 PM PDT

  •  Missed the 1983 Mianus river bridge collapse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541

    by about 12 hours. We were driving to the Stamford Mall to get a camera to take pictures of my baby's imminent birth.

    3 people died.

    If you have read or commented on this diary, remember to thank a teacher.

    by Sprinkles on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:26:46 PM PDT

  •  There is No Way to Outsource This So (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    It doesn't get priority.

  •  I mean really (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Silver Bridge

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:33:30 PM PDT

  •  63,000 structurally deficient bridges? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    Better get rid of Net Neutrality and pass the TPP.

  •  Tried to link to the GOV defective bridge link. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541

    They require some M$ utility?


  •  Future Mobility (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541

    Was at an event for Harvard Business School alums (my sister invited me) this afternoon to hear Rosabeth Moss Kanter and this is what she talked about.  Turns out HBS had a summit on this issue with major CEOs and government officials on the subject in February.  Also turns out that Tom Donohue of the US Chamber of Commerce and Rich Trumka of the AFL/CIO are partnering around this issue of transportation infrastructural improvement and advancement.  

    Talked a little with Kanter afterwards but didn't tell her that the Repugs have at least a 30 year history of rejecting infrastructural investment because "governments don't invest, they can only spend."  Ain't much gonna happen unless the Repugs change that attitude or get voted out of office.

  •  gravity will prevail in this instance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541
  •  My dear Republican friend J. has said that the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Amber6541

    bazillions we pissed away in Eye-rack have kept our bridges from being blown up. He doesn't listen when I reply, "They don't have to be blown up. They'll collapse of themselves, because they haven't been maintained." I'm not even going to send him this article, since he'll just say it's distortions of the LIBBURUL MEDIA.

  •  Infrastructure should be a big issues for Dems... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flavor411, Amber6541 big as minimum wage and voter rights and inequality.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 08:08:55 PM PDT

  •  We don't need no stinking bridges (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because it is vital we spend trillions in the Middle East to protect oil interests and keep the MIC robust.  If we had spent the trillions on bullet trains and other mass transit concepts, the oil companies and their lobbyists would not like it. Corporate profit is king; not the interests of the American people, and don't you forget it.  

  •  Or you could just replace them all with toll (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Mayfly, BeninSC

    bridges like is being done on Cline Ave in NW Indiana after the existing bridge was declared unsound and demolished a mere 23 years after it was built.  It's a sad commentary when we cannot maintain nor replace what the greatest generation built for us.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." MLK, Jr.

    by KimmieInIN on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:01:37 PM PDT

    •  Toll bridges and toll roads (0+ / 0-)

      seems to be the direction we're going.

      Gas taxes haven't kept up with the cost, and our other tax dollars have other priorities (education, health care, environmental protection, etc.)

      If we need direct user fees (tolls) for bridge and highway spending, so be it.  I don't really care whether it's through gas taxes, or tolls, or some other user-fee system.  And if it persuades some folks to do less driving, and take transit instead -- great!

    •  Toll bridges acceptable if a private corporation (0+ / 0-)

      profits--otherwise the Repubs, who hate "the common good" would not cooperate.

      Feminism--the radical belief that women are human beings.

      by Mayfly on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:25:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        every toll bridge is it's own corporation, with all the wasted overhead that entails. And the way these toll contracts are written the citizens can't build a bypass without re-reimbursing some WS shysters and their Foreign partners for any revenue loss.

        Look at Chicago's parking meters, Indiana's I-80 toll road paid for by taxpayers. At least Moses and his Port Authority build, even if they miss build at times.

    •  Just another consequence of the idea that (0+ / 0-)

      government is the problem, and that any moneys spent (except for weapons and prisons) is wasted.

      Thanks for your comment, Kimmie.

      Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.
      ~~ from the DK Partners & Mentors Team.

      "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

      by BeninSC on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 03:29:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bridges (2+ / 0-)

    I'm afraid the bridges will not be repaired or maintained as it would require money that is better used to make war on little countries all over the World.

  •  Only in America (5+ / 0-)

    We have over five years of massive unemployment.

    We have mostly 80 year old infrastructure, which is failing, from bridges to sewer mains to water treatment plants to electrical grids.

    We have a dangerously unstable economy built on the fluff of financial services instead of building things.

    A one trillion dollar investment in Infrastructure upgrades could cure all three of those ills.

    Why a Democratic President doesn't propose just such a program is beyond me. The last one who did is remembered as the greatest President of the 20th century.

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:06:38 PM PDT

    •  With all the winters storms and power outages (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State

      this past winter ... the ones lasting up to weeks, I seem to recall ...

      Did anyone hear anything about ... you know ... possibly upgrading that incredibly fragile electrical grid system (which is apparently now held together with bubble gum and tape)?  I sure didn't.

      We never learn.  Well, maybe that's wrong.  I think we're just learning to be more fatalistic and put up with more and more crap.

      •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

        the fix is to charge folks who try to go solar, to make the infrastructure less brittle. At least solar cells in winter allow you to charge cell phones etc. I am surprised that the gas companies haven't jumped on the band wagon against solar water heaters.

        How about the folks who supply firewood? They are being deprived of their lively hood also, too.

  •  not sure why "republicans" is in this story (0+ / 0-)

    Pretty puzzling how the two Republican references got put in this story, given no supporting context that this is or has been a partisan issue.

    free the information

    by freelixir on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:07:34 PM PDT

    •  Not so "puzzling"... (2+ / 0-)
      ...not only does it not rank at the top of the Republican priorities list, it's almost seen as some kind of outrage to suggest, even though it would be a major job creator. You don't put $1 trillion into bridges without taxing someone, after all, and low taxes rank well above jobs on that Republican priorities list.
      ...when one considers that Republicans control the House (officially) - and thus, all spending bills - and the Senate (unofficially, by dint of obstruction).

      And then, there are examples like these from the NYT of 10/15/10...  

      "Yesterday, at an appearance in San Jose, Sarah Palin told the crowd, “Now we know what they were shoveling, and it wasn’t asphalt.” One e-mail from the National Republican Campaign Committee screamed “Obama Acknowledges Stimulus Failures” and claimed that the president had confirmed “once and for all that the stimulus was a policy disaster.”

      ...along with their continued emphasis on austerity, which remains unchanged from that time.

      No doubt, any other "supporting context" was deemed unnecessary, given the party's unaltered and very vocal opposition to spending.

  •  I like the signs idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CentralCoaster, Dirtandiron

    It's never popular to raise the gas tax but I'm sure you'd get a call from a lot of panicky constituents seeing this signs demanding the bridges they drive on are safe.

    •  Conspicuous roadworthiness signs on bridges (2+ / 0-)

      Years ago when I lived in San Diego, CA restaurants were conspicuously rated by the health department for their sanitation. Most had a large A in the front window. Some had a B in the window. It gave potential customers advance notice and was an incentive for restaurants to keep their sanitation standards high.

      I'd be in favor for something similar to be conspicuously posted on all bridges and on their approaches to alert travelers about  their roadworthiness.

  •  At some point the country's focus shifted (0+ / 0-)

    from managing our resources and our built enviornment to managing people.
    Actually, I think I know when it happened -- in the late sixties when business administration programs sprouted like mushrooms under the direction of sociologists, psychologists and economists. Even the bean counters focused more on the counting, than the beans.
    It was thought and taught that proper motivation of the workforce is all it takes to get a job done. That there was a practical skill set required sort of got overlooked.
    What do the MBAs learn at Harvard? Not how to build a bridge. All the technical programs either got stinted or derailed into programming machines to do stuff. There's not only a lot of trial and error with machines, a huge learning curve, but once it's perfected, there's a desire for high volume and uniform product -- none of which is responsive to our variable environment.
    Cookie cutter bridges are not going to work.

    by hannah on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:13:18 PM PDT

  •  Bridges? We don't need no stinking bridges! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Jesus will carry us over the river in his heavenmobile!

    I have no gripe with Christians, just those who try to justify being judgmental ("Judge not, least ye be judged") and those who justify grinding the poor down ("Sell everything you have and give it to the poor.")  They don't want to pay taxes to repair the infrastructure ("Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.") They must have read a different Bible than I did.

    Not keeping the infrastructure in good repair shafts all of us. Just think what we could have done (and provided jobs too) with the money that was spent on Iraq!

  •  You have your priorities wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We dont need no stinking bridges. That is socialism! We REALLY NEED ANOTHER $12 billion aircraft carrier!

    FREEDUMB!  (snark of course)

    I am pro-life. Bring our troops home ALIVE!

    by Doc Allen on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:30:07 PM PDT

  •  Who cares about structurally deficient bridges (2+ / 0-)

    when there's tax cuts and subsidies to give out and critical government services to privatize?

    Seriously, people really need to start thinking about these sort of things when the politicians start getting up on their soapboxes and complaining about taxes being too high and calling for tax cuts for "job creators".  Eventually, money is going to be needed for things like roads, schools, fire departments, police, etc. and it's going to have to come from somewhere.  The people whom are most likely to be footing the bills later are NOT going to be the so-called "job creators" but likely the average working middle-class people and by the time the needed work gets done, it's likely going to be more expensive and burdensome.

    Stop the anti-tax madness!  

  •  Because repairing bridges employs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    skilled workers. Republicans (and some Democratic) want as many of these people unemployed as possible so that when their unemployment runs out, they have to build Wal-Marts, or other facilities owned by the 1% for substandard wages.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:42:06 PM PDT

  •  Flat screen TVs and Highway Bridges? - LUXURY!! (2+ / 0-)

    We used to blow smoke rings and float across rivers! Poors these days!

    -7.75,-6.41 Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking...

    by owlbear1 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:48:24 PM PDT

  •  NSA's Spying on All Americans Black Budget (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    comes way before repairing infrastructure (bridges, highways, airports, seaports, sewage collection and treatment systems, water treatment and distribution systems, etc), improving education and making education available to all, putting unemployed Americans back to work, increasing the minimum wage, regulating corporations, prosecuting the Wall Street thieves, etc.

    Get with the oligarchs' program -- "to protect & to serve" them and their wants and desires.

  •  upgrade the (0+ / 0-)

    infrastructure and the economy would soar, but that would help the dems and the gop are only interested in hurting the opposition when they should be interested in supporting america and improving the daily lives of every citizen.

    then again they would have to love america and its best interests to act that way and the gop does not.

    save america defeat all republicans and conservatives

  •  How about a nice Profiteer tax? (0+ / 0-)

    A local dj on the radio here in CT recently blithered on about how we could have really good food labeling, or fix our bridges, but not both, so we needed to divert the cash we're spending on label reform and apply it to infrastructure.  

    This absolutely enraged me as I listened.  It's a false dichotomy promoted by idiots who buy into the rhetoric spouted by the Right Wing.  It's not a choice between two necessary things, it's a choice between continuing to allow the 1% to hoover up the last pennies we 99% have in our pockets in the name of trickle-down economics, or hitting them up in such a way that will release some of the (freakishly large stacks of) money they're sitting on and refusing to plow back into the economy.

    I suggest a Profiteer tax.  We've had them before, during and after every war, though they've been diminished with each succeeding war as corporations have taken over more and more of our government.  These days, corporations have all bragged about the ridiculous tons of profit they've made by keeping their underlings' wages cut to the bone as they work them to death, and fellow corporations like The New York Times have complimented them on their fabulous profitability.  Time to turn the tables and remove a huge chunk of those ill-gotten gains, using the cash to spur economic growth and upgrade our bridges and other infrastructure, saving the country in the bargain.

  •  The Pawlenty Bridge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The picture you used to illustrate this story is the exact one I keep on my computer to remind me of the Republican vision for American.  

  •  "This Dangerous Bridge Brought to you by...." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    American Road and Transportation Builders Association suggests posting signs identifying bridges as structurally deficient.

    Post the name of every one that voted to reduce spending.

    Don't run thru the screen door, Granny, you'll STRAIN yourself!

    by Tuba Les on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:02:44 PM PDT

  •  The deficit (and debt) problems (0+ / 0-)

    Have always been not that we are spending too much money, but that we're spending it on the wrong things. We should be privileging infrastructure (including repair, trains and light rail, ...), education, research and environment.  That's what really creates jobs and makes the economy grow.

    In the household analogy so beloved of the GOP and Tea Party, it's like borrowing money to go on vacation, while neglecting home repairs, your kids' education, or your retirement.

    And to be fair, many Democrats have also been complicit over the years.

  •  With the bridges & Roads (0+ / 0-)

    needing repair, closing the roads in & around the GOP Politicians homes and posting signs to the effect that the road is closed and won't be repaired until [Politician's name] votes for a jobs bill to repair the roads & bridges...
    Might bring some action...

    U.S. Navy '64-'85 | The man who knows and knows he knows not is a wise man.. - The ink of scholars is worth more than the blood of martyrs.

    by OpherGopher on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 03:55:09 PM PDT

  •  Connect the dots. The trillions of offshored (0+ / 0-)

    billionaires' dollars protected from taxation in the Caymans and other sites, would be precisely what's needed to generate the tax revenue necessary to fix our crumbling infrastructure.  And how did those billionaires get their money?  In part from businesses shipping goods and providing services that rely on our roads, bridges, airports, ports.  They use this infrastructure and get rich off the use of this infrastructure, but they shield their profits from having to pay for the maintenance of the very infrastructure that helps them get rich in the first place.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 04:01:09 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, and the worst one is in Texas. It's the (0+ / 0-)

    bridge between Gregg Abbott's neurons.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 04:33:50 PM PDT

  •  It's actually a wonderful opportunity (0+ / 0-)

    in election season.

    Arrive at your local Tea Party primary with big blowups of closeups of a deteriorating bridge in their district. When it's your turn to talk, say, "This is the __ bridge, in your district. As you can see in this picture, so much of the concrete has deteriorated that you can see the rebar underneath. Why are we wasting time talking about about repealing a health care law that is insuring millions of people and talking about cutting taxes yet again, when we have so many unemployed and our roads and bridges are collapsing beneath us. I drive my child to school over this bridge every day. When it collapses and we die, are you going to say, 'at least we got another vote in on repealing Obamacare,' or is it time to get back to work on behalf of all Americans, Republican or Democrat, man or woman, anglo or hispanic, because one thing we all have in common is that this constant partisan bickering is putting us all at risk."

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:21:37 PM PDT

  •  Don't worry (0+ / 0-)

    In 2016 Christy will be president and he knows how to handle bridges.

  •  Yeah, but wait until... (0+ / 0-)

    The next time a bridge or an overpass collapses. The Republicans will find a way to blame President Obama for the tragedy, and they'll hold him solely responsible for doing nothing about our country's crumbling, obsolete infrastructure.

  •  You are all missing the point (0+ / 0-)

    There will be plenty of infrastructure projects.
    Just as soon as all the roads, highways, and bridges have been privatized, and we all pay tolls for them.

    Don't you get it? When they are all a complete shambles, Bechtel, or Brown & Root, or whoever will step in, and say "We can fix those"!, "Just give/sell then to us for pennies on the dollar, and we'll fixem right up"! Then they'll charge us $5/mile to use them. You can use the Xtra GoGo, Superfast lane (tm) for $10/mile (That's right Mr. 1% lanes just for you! :-) )

    I've been waiting for this for years now. It's already started here in the metro DC area. If you don't think this sin't a plan you're just being silly!

    You have your right to your opinion, I will grant you that, but do not denigrate my right to mine!

    by MrQA on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 05:44:11 AM PDT

  •  From here to there (0+ / 0-)

    A perfect source of revenue for infra structure would be to move, 100%, the money that is used to subsidize fossil fuel and big agra to a repair fund for the next 30 years and then put in a caveat that the above said industries would never again be eligible for future monies or support from the government.

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