Bush Administration Domestic Terrorists? (This is not about 9/11) Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Helen, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2007 at 7:22 pm
The recent tragedy in Minneapolis reminds me that our federal tax dollars are being spent on adventuristic military operations in a far-away land, while domestic infrastructure crumbles. Aging infrastructure is a known problem that's been on government radar screens for at least a decade. When infrastructure fails due to known problems and people die as a result, this may be the moral equivalent of terrorism.
Plenty of studies have pointed out the infrastructure problems, but the Bush administration chooses to either ignore the problems or encourage cities and counties to sell their infrastructure to foreign investors. A scarey prospect in itself.
Either way, the administration's priorities here (as elsewhere) suggest disregard and disrespect for the citizens who elected them.
I implore anyone reading this to take the time to send an e-mail to the President and our Congressional representatives, expressing your concerns about aging infrastructure and urging them to reset priorities.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2007 at 5:24 am
The fault lies not in the stars, but in ourselves.
The lion's share of transit money has gone to Toonerville Trolley schemes that make for great photo ops but never serve more than 6 percent of the people. That is where your road repair money went. This largely started when democrat Jerry Brown declared the end of the Freeway in California.
Posted by terry, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2007 at 10:35 am
We put a lot of money into maintaining our infrastructure but that money goes into repairs and clean up instead of building new bridges or roads. This is not about the Bush administratioin, dont make it out to be something it really is not.
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2007 at 11:52 am
I am no fan of the Bush Adminstration, but this is a long standing problem that exists at all levels of government. Very simply, a great deal of infrastructure that was constructed in the years after WWII through the 1960's is worn out, obsolete, and was not sufficiently maintained over the years.
Much of it would be in need of replacement anyway, but the neglect in upkeep means that for much of it, the cost of doing the work now is greater that it might have been had it been maintained better over the years. The Golden Gate Bridge is an anamoly in this regard, it is extremely well maintained, but such is not the case for other structures with less visiblity. Your bridge tolls at work--and they go up regularly.
Our city, our state and our country have been glossing over this matter for decades now, elected officials from both parties have contributed to this situation. One can fault the Bush Administration for its lack of leadership in facing the problem that its many predecessors neglected, but they in this instance fit into the "more of the same" category, no better or worse than others who have preceded them.
That said, this is a huge problem that will be with us for at least a lifetime. It is very costly to do the work needed to make these structures viable and safe for another 30-50 years, and with the attitudes about taxation that exist around things like gasoline and property taxes, it will be difficult to find funding sources to cover the expenses that are out there.
What happened this week in the Twin Cities, and some of the levee breaks in New Orleans during Katrina are just the beginning of this story. I wish I knew how long it would be and how much damage and loss of life need to happen before we set our priorities on putting funding at all levels of government to solve this dilemma. Lack of strong infrastructure compromises the viablity of our entire economy and well-being, it is "need to have" stuff, not "nice to have" stuff, except for some bridges in Alaska and related "pork."
Posted by Helen, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 7, 2007 at 3:59 pm
Gee, Resident, I don't know why you say my allegations are ridiculous and lack credibility. Here are some facts:
The highway trust fund is about to go broke. When President Bush took office the fund had a $23 billion surplus, but it is expected to be running a deficit by next year in part because Bush killed an increase in gas taxes two years ago.
Investment firms including Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are forming large funds to purchase publicly owned infrastructure projects.
In Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has leased the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road to a foreign consortium from Spain and Australia for $3.85 billion over the next seventy-five years. By one calculation, the Toll Road will generate $11 billion over the life of the lease. Indiana's governor Mitch Daniels has been nicknamed Mr. Privatize by some for his willingness to sell off public assets. Before coming to Indiana, Daniels served as the President Bush's White House budget director. And Indiana is not alone. In Illinois, officials signed a 99-year, $1.8 billion lease to hand over the Chicago Skyway.
Got some facts to counter this with? Or just insulting accusations?
Helen (not Thomas, but I wouldn't mind being her. She's sharp and unphased by Bush's monkey-like attempts to intimidate)
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 7, 2007 at 5:43 pm
Could you please provide a link that shows that the highway trust fund is about to go broke? I am looking for an analysis that shows that the "trust" fund is actually spent on highway projects, and nothing else, including mass transit. Even a bridge to nowhere is still a road project. I just want to be assured that the U.S. government is not using the "trust" fund for something that is not part of the promise to American citizens to use the "trust" fund for roads and bridges. For instance, attempts to use the fund to reduce national debt. Or to build 'creative' projects unrelated to roads and bridges.
I would also like to know what the percetnage of HWT funds are actually allocated to roads and bridges every year. I understand that there are reasonable estimates that do not always add up to 100%, but are the funds FULLY allocated to roads and bridges?
Also, Helen, if you have a link to a cost analysis that shows the additional costs incurred by environmental impact reports, that would be helpful.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2007 at 1:31 pm
Look at home. A half billion dollars would have repaired the East Bay approach to the Bay Bridge. One and a half would have replaced it with a viaduct over the mud flats, but the two Browns, Jerry and Willie wanted an edifice, and so the suspension bridge over a mudflat, every bit as dumb as the bridge to nowhere, is nearing 7 billion. Five billion for ego! As near as I recall, neither of these Browns was a Bush appointee.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2007 at 4:29 pm
Please, Helen, send the sites so that I can see that budget, with the most federal income EVER because of the business and employment facilitated by lowering taxes, has not increased, as usual, for roads and other infrastructure. I also can't wait to see how much less pork their is not that the new Congress is in charge.
But, even if what you say is true, Helen, the part of the assumption that I completely disagree with is that we need to increase taxes ever more every year to pay for everything everybody asks for.
The best government is the least government. The better road ( no pun intended) is to prioritize our federal spending, and ALSO have each state support its own infrastructure. If Louisiana had spent its OWN money on the dikes of the Mississippi River, maybe the money would have actually gone toward repairing the dams like it was supposed to.