Monday, January 08, 2018

COTW: Infrastructure, Not So Much

Trumpy promised his rabid 'base' to make 'Merica Great Again, but he has done precious little in his first year of office except lurch from one personality crisis to another, and pick a nuclear fight with a Cold War leftover. The self-proclaimed "genius" should take a look at this chart:

To be fair most spending on infrastructure is done by local governments, not the federal government.   But there have been no efforts to share tax revenue with municipalities and counties to help these cash-strapped jurisdictions deal with the problems of crumbling infrastructure.  Their indebtedness has risen markedly in recent years due to funding retiring workers generous pension benefits. [chart below]

The federal government provides about 30% of the money used for transportation.  One glaring result of the lack of federal spending on transportation is the Amtrak system.  'Merica does not have a high-speed rail network for this very reason.  The use of rails not designed for high-speed passenger rail transport directly contributed to the fatal derailment of Amtrak's premier west-coast train service on an I-5 overpass in Washington state recently.  The train was traveling at a modest 78mph when it approached the curve posted for 30mph.  France's TGV and Japan's bullet trains travel at speeds nearing 200mph, but the rails they use are specially designed, dedicated, high-grade steel, not hand-me-down freight rails.  The French TGV (Très Grande Vitesse) holds the world's train speed record of 357.2mph! Tell that to stranded airline passengers in the northeast.

The American Society of Engineers gives 'Merica's infrastructure a grade of D+, and said that the cost of upgrading the nation's facilities would cost a whopping $4.6 trillion.  Of course that figure is much higher than the government's estimates, since the association's members stand to benefit from a construction boom.  Trump asked for $1 trillion in additional spending in his bugdet proposals to Congress, but he has already signed a massive tax gift to corporations and the wealthy, and a record-breaking Pentagon budget.  Infrastructure? Not so much.

"I'm a stable Genius!", declares Trumpy
BC Idonwanna sez:  Only 30% agree, kimosabe!