Monday, July 28, 2008

The Pavement is Rated "Not Acceptable" on One of Every Seven Miles of the Nation's Roads

About 25% of bridges in the U.S. are either "functionally obsolete" or "structurally deficient," like the Mississippi River bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis last August, killing 13 people.

Moreover, the pavement is rated "not acceptable" on one of every seven miles of the nation's roads, according to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, whose job is to assess infrastructure problems and recommend fixes.

Overall, the commission estimated, $225 billion a year is needed to meet the country's transportation infrastructure needs. Current spending is about 40% of that level.

"We were losing ground to these incredible increases in construction costs, but then to see the erosion in driving -- it's a double whammy," said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
This is in part self-correcting. One of the reasons people are driving less is that they're abandoning their exurban palaces to foreclosure and moving places less insane -- this may give states the opportunity to simply close some highways. But, the one in seven unacceptable pavement? It got that way while states were doing fine. In any case, maybe it's time to realize part of Governor Mike Huckabee's dream, and replace the per gallon tax with a per dollar tax.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue [said] "People need to understand that this infrastructure thing is not optional."
Actually, so much of what we thought of as non-optional turned out to be. Like, say, responding to Congressional Subpoenas.
With driving down, the number of people riding Amtrak has risen 11% this year, and mass-transit systems in many areas, including Seattle and South Florida, are experiencing ridership increases of 30% or more, according to the American Public Transit Association.
Nancy Underwood, an administrator in Alexandria, Va., got rid of her gas-thirsty Ford Explorer in favor of a Honda Accord, which still cost her $69 to fill up Sunday morning. She and her husband have nearly stopped their frequent trips to Richmond, and gasoline prices have even influenced her job situation.

"I took a job three blocks from my home" to save on gas and parking, even though "I could make more money" working in town, she said.
And these are all wonderful things. President Bush may be more than just the biodiesel president. He may be the guy to reform transportation in America, which even Dean Kamen failed at. There's a lot of human pain in this transformation, but there was always going to be.

Update: This isn't germane, but it's also from the Journal. It's a breathtakingly alternate view of this presidency.
Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"
Or maybe it's because only fantacists can stomach what this administration has turned the organs of our government into? I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

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