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Friday, October 28, 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $12 billion bill on Wednesday to extend highway construction spending for three months, and sent the measure on to the Senate, where prompt action was expected.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Photo: Automobile traffic backs-up as it travels north from San Diego to Los Angeles along Interstate Highway 5 in California December 10, 2013. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

  • Independent1

    As usual the GOP treats maintaining the U.S. infrastructure as a necessary evil, rather than a source of pride and something to be enhanced not only for safeties sake but also to make every American’s lives easier, more enjoyable and even to help businesses that they supposedly support.

    In an article which I’ll post below, U.S. news says that back in 2005, America’s infrastructure was considered number one in the world. While 8 years later in 2013, because the GOP has in one way or the other, had total control of America’s purse strings since then (aside for about 3-5 months in 2009); America’s infrastructure had fallen to #14 in the world – as nation after nation brought their country’s into the 21st century while America stayed rooted in the mid-to late 20th century. Not only is our infrastructure crumbling, but America is falling way behind in the way it moves its people.

    Even when Eisenhower pushed for the interstate highway system, Republicans said no! They were not interested in spending money on improved highways because they could not see the benefit of it. It wasn’t until Ike couched the creation of the interstate highways as being necessary for national defense (making it easier to move troops around should America be attacked), that Republicans became supportive of the idea.

    So as nation after nation around the world, implements high-speed rail with trains that go 1/2 to almost 3/4s as fast as planes – and could cut hours out of Americans travel even on reasonably long hauls across the nation (to 2.5-3.0 hours from NYC to Chicago); America stays rooted in being dependent on that lovely mode of travel that has become a great aggravation to millions of Americans – flying!!

    When? oh When? Are the cavemen that call themselves conservatives going to wake up and realize that there’s something in life beyond MAKING MONEY?? When are they going to realize that being in a modern country today, is far more than having a million dollars in your pockets?? It’s about being in a safe country (which means spending money on law enforcement); and being able to get around in the easiest, cheapest, safest and in the most convenient manner AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT – THAT IS NOT BY FLYING!!! IT IS BY TAKING A TRAIN TO THE MAJORITY OF PLACES IN AMERICA!!!

    See this from USNews:

    The GOP Roadblock to Repairs

    In 2005, the World Economic Forum ranked America’s infrastructure Number 1 in the world for “economic competitiveness.” Only eight short years later, the U.S. occupies 14th place. Instead of leading our global competitors in planning, staying current and building a transportation system for the 21st century, we have continued to invest at the same rate (in real inflation-adjusted dollars) as we did in 1968.

    By way of example, Canada spends 4 percent of its GDP on transportation, investment and maintenance, with China spending 9 percent. The U.S. spends only 1.7 percent.

    More than 69,000 of America’s bridges are deemed structurally deficient, more than 11 percent of all the bridges in our country. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. would need to invest $3.6 trillion between now and 2020 just to keep its infrastructure in “good” repair.

    As a nation, our cities have become more congested, our commutes more delayed and our companies less productive. According to UPS, five minutes of daily delay for its trucks adds up to $100 million lost annually.

  • GraceAdams830

    Our Departments of Defense and Homeland Security are pleading for fixing our electric grid to withstand electromagnetic pulse and weather-related disaster AND to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy. They do NOT want to take a chance on losing the entire electric grid to either a solar flare like the one that fried the telegraph system in 1859 or to enemy attack AND they do NOT want to have to deal with hordes of refugees coming over the border from Mexico. It would take about $20billion one time cost to fix the grid–about $200billion/year over many years to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy. I suspect since DOD and DHS both want this, they can probably find $100billion/year of pork they are willing to trade towards this. ALL our too big to fail fossil fuel firms will be furious about the competition. Considering that fossil fuels impose HUGE external costs on society mostly extra health care expense from air and water pollution plus coal alone kills about 10,000 Americans a year, if we start with replacing coal, we should be able to pay for much of the cost of replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy out of savings on health care cost once they start appearing. Energy is also part of infrastructure.
    Infrastructure has usually been done by government since Roman times. We can probably pay for coal mine owners to keep it in the ground as much as they make digging it up and selling it to be burned and making a huge mess–by placing renewable energy equipment with electric utilities and telling them that they get 18% of generation charges for maintaining and operating the equipment, but they have to pay their coal supplier 82% of those generation charges to make up for the coal mine owners loss of sales. Oil and gas firms should be given geothermal leases and permits and allowed to make their own deals with the electric utilities.

  • GraceAdams830

    I wish the GOP could understand cost/benefit analysis and be willing to believe that most programs that can be expected to pay for themselves strictly from the point of view of federal taxpayers as taxpayers are worth doing.