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Discussion Starter #1
Political ranting gets a workout here so here's mine.

I watched 60 Minutes tonight after the game. There was an expose on the state of Americas infrastructure. Now there is a topic that I can get worked up about. Not like it's a liberal/conservative kind of thing. You drives Volvos, you drive Jimmys but either way, one out of every nine bridges is dangerous. One out of nine. Count how many you drive over this week. Not the Golden Gate but the overpasses and the spans over creek beds and whatnot. They showed a bridge over a highway in Pittsburgh that is falling apart and raining concrete down on cars passing under. What they do? Build a tin roof over the lower roadway. Why? Because you can get emergency funding for a band aid but you are too much of a pussy to look voters in the eye and tell them that infrastructure costs money and since we have waited so long and put it off for so long, well it's going to cost a whole lot more money. And if we keep on waiting what you think? Gonna get cheaper? Gonna fix itself?

These morons we send to DC are going to wait until the whole shooting match goes to fugall and then maybe they will get the scrotal spheres to invigorate the highway funding so my bike can get past bridge number nine without going all Evel Knievel.

We were number one for infrastructure since Eisenhower but according to global commerce research we are now number 16, behind the likes of Finland, behind Belgium. Frigging Belgium.

No high speed rail, they said a freight train entering the rail system in Chicago will spend as much time navigating Chicago as it will getting to LA from Chicago. When the Panama Canal opens to the new class of super transport ships next spring there will only be two ports in the USA dredged deep enough to allow that traffic. Do I need to remind anybody that flies just what it's like to get the plane into the air anymore? Are these thing going to get better if we just ignore them? Is getting goods to market not important? Oh yeah, I forgot. Amazon is going to use drones. That'll fix it.

This ain't quantum physics here. This is pretty simple math. I guess we got a choice. Whine about a bunch of silly crap that doesn't affect more than our blood pressure while the roads fall out from under us or tell the nitwits in DC to grow a pair and fix the damn roads.

I already did my emailing before this rant.
 

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Pop, we don't need new or increased road taxes. We need a gummint that will cease pissing away the Highway Trust Fund, spending it on non highway sh1t. They're telling us that hybrids, electrics and gas sipping cars have lessened the demand for fuel and consequently reduced gas tax revenues. That's outright gummint BS. Fuel sales have increased every year. They are peeing on our heads and telling us its raining.
 

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Well big guy, the CBO numbers show that the opposite is true. The trust fund has only seen one direct legislated appropriation since 1990. 1990 is significant because it's the last time there was a tax increase in highway funding. Besides that lone additional funding appropriation the legislated revenue for infrastructure has not gotten a bump in 24 years. That single appropriation and a series of "emergency" funding appropriations is essentially the trust fund robbing the general fund.

So no funding increase in 24 years while the entire system continues to degrade and the amount of use continues to rise well beyond design specification. In order to offset the use patterns new projects have been undertaken. Most of us regularly use the results of highway projects done since 1990. We have to either add cash to the kitty, slash off necessary improvements or both just to flatline the bleeding. Any plan to repair is beyond those choices. Remember, though I get and expect the benefits of a top shelf highway system, it ain't for me. It's for defense. Our tax dollars are intended to be spent to maintain a ready system of movement for our armed forces should the need arise.

As far as riding goes, the immediate benefit of course would be improved roads. I can dodge a pothole or two on the bike but should I have to? The more important issue to me is, for instance, there's a swing bridge over a river in Hackensack. It is on the main line of the N/S rail corridor. Designed during the 1800's and finished in the early 1900s. There is no alternate for 100's of freight trains daily. And it screws the pooch all the time. Won't lock into position after swinging away for barge traffic. Holds up freight from DC to Boston. Some of that freight is perishable, some is time sensitive. Some is mine. Remember the military concern. If a train can't get through Hackensack, then in time of conflict or catastrophe there's troops and M1's on one side of that river that are not getting to the other side.
Delays cost money, passed along to me. I get to pay for this either way. I'm going with paying for it to get better instead of what I am doing which is paying for it to fall apart. One fine sunny day some bridge between me and Spirit Lake is going to take a gravity nap and motorcycle parts are going to be there while I am here. I'll still get them, it will take longer and it will cost more but I can tell myself that I sure showed them trust fund robbing bastards.
 

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Pop, we don't need new or increased road taxes. We need a gummint that will cease pissing away the Highway Trust Fund, spending it on non highway sh1t. They're telling us that hybrids, electrics and gas sipping cars have lessened the demand for fuel and consequently reduced gas tax revenues. That's outright gummint BS. Fuel sales have increased every year. They are peeing on our heads and telling us its raining.
What's the private sector solution? Toll roads? Maybe we could turn it over to JP Morgan who would implement ubiquitous monitoring of public roads with monthly toll bills to everyone? Maybe they could "bundle" those with our ATM fees for $2.99 a month.

Problem is that people who would use gov't for the benefit of its citizens are out of fashion. They've been replaced by people who sell the joy of self-righteousness in rugged individualism. Ironically, it's mostly sold to old white guys, many of whom have spent some or even most of their lives in various organizations from bike clubs to military outfits, where personal sacrifice for the common good of the organization is the ultimate contribution a member can make. The very antithesis of the conservative idea that "*I* built that!"

Besides, where is the drama in fixing a road? Much more fun to paint Obama to look like some sinister movie character and articulate "Benghazi" in various snarky ways. Much better for media ratings...

Ricz, can you link info that supports your contentions? I looked for info on the funding and all I could find were graphs that show the the current and future shortfalls based on funding versus project costs. I didn't find anything in terms of yearly funding.

I did find this regarding fuel sales:




Which does show a slight increase over time. Problem is, that doesn't account for cost. If gas was selling at $4/gal in 2006 and now sells for $2.40/gal and we sold the same amount, tax revenues would decrease by 40%. Conversely, as populations increase, it would stand to reason that common resources like roads would be subject to wear out faster. Leading to graphslike this:

 

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What's the private sector solution? Toll roads? Maybe we could turn it over to JP Morgan who would implement ubiquitous monitoring of public roads with monthly toll bills to everyone? Maybe they could "bundle" those with our ATM fees for $2.99 a month.

Problem is that people who would use gov't for the benefit of its citizens are out of fashion. They've been replaced by people who sell the joy of self-righteousness in rugged individualism. Ironically, it's mostly sold to old white guys, many of whom have spent some or even most of their lives in various organizations from bike clubs to military outfits, where personal sacrifice for the common good of the organization is the ultimate contribution a member can make. The very antithesis of the conservative idea that "*I* built that!"

Besides, where is the drama in fixing a road? Much more fun to paint Obama to look like some sinister movie character and articulate "Benghazi" in various snarky ways. Much better for media ratings...

Ricz, can you link info that supports your contentions? I looked for info on the funding and all I could find were graphs that show the the current and future shortfalls based on funding versus project costs. I didn't find anything in terms of yearly funding.

I did find this regarding fuel sales:




Which does show a slight increase over time. Problem is, that doesn't account for cost. If gas was selling at $4/gal in 2006 and now sells for $2.40/gal and we sold the same amount, tax revenues would decrease by 40%. Conversely, as populations increase, it would stand to reason that common resources like roads would be subject to wear out faster. Leading to graphslike this:

Lousy Dyno Graph there Saddlebag!!!
 

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I saw the same piece yesterday. Scary. Everyone knows it's a problem, no one knows how to, or wants to, fund the fixes.
 

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Why don't we just use the money we send overseas to country's that HATE us ? I bet that would fix every bridge and road in America in short order . There would probably even be enough left over for construction of a nice wall @ the southern border ..... Its not how much money we keep giving the Government , its how they use it .
 

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Which does show a slight increase over time. Problem is, that doesn't account for cost. If gas was selling at $4/gal in 2006 and now sells for $2.40/gal and we sold the same amount, tax revenues would decrease by 40%.
I don't understand saddlebag's comment above. Here in TN, the fuel tax is 21.4 cents per gallon, no matter if the retail price is $5.00 or $1.00. The only thing that determines the revenue stream is volume, not price.

http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/GasTax/

So while I might think that over time as vehicles are more efficient that might decrease tax revenue slightly, it is more than offset by the increased vehicles on the road. This is supported by the lines at the pump whenever I try to buy fuel.
I'll accept the fact that increased numbers of vehicles adds to road wear and tear, but also increases revenue with additional gallons consumed.

Bottom line is revenues are being wasted by a bloated and wasteful government that is not held accountable.
 

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I don't understand saddlebag's comment above. Here in TN, the fuel tax is 21.4 cents per gallon, no matter if the retail price is $5.00 or $1.00.
Oops! I thought it was a sales tax based on price. If not, mea culpa, and thank you for the correction. :not worthy:
 

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My gripes on this, which may or may not be well-informed:

The highway departments' (and gov't in general) "use-it-or-lose-it" approach to budget allocation means they can't roll-over excess allocation from year to the next, in hopes to have enough for major projects. They'd rather burn it by paying subcontractors to re-chipseal the same goddamn road every year, because if they don't they won't get as much next year.

The way taxpayers always balk at paying taxes. While our taxes are often squandered (mostly on paying politicians), when a local agency tries to pass a bond to improve roads or schools or reduce the amount of arsenic to non-toxic levels in our drinking water (personal experience here), people flip the **** out. "$80 extra a year on my property taxes? To hell with that new school! Those little bastards can keep breathing asbestos and eating lead paint for all I care!"

That's a bit of hyperbole, but when the ceilings were fall down in my high school (and my elementary school before that) it took from when I was in 5th grade till I was a sophomore to get the bond passed. This is a school! Your kids spend 7 hours a day there, and you don't care that the state has condemned the building? Damn place wouldn't pass code for habitation in a third-world country!

As long as I know my tax increase is doing something good like building schools, fixing roads, funding libraries, I'm happy to pay it. I just want to know it's not being used to build Orrin Hatch a cybernetic body.
 

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Yeah, what Luciferiad said. The allocation method of funding gummint operations affords no one, not even those in gummint, a way to economize, so budgets grow exponentially. If anyone is interested, I'll tell about how a friend got filthy rich in the moving and storage biz in DC. All on account of allocations.
Then there are the funds that get raided for pet projects completely unrelated to the purpose of that fund. Here, we have astronomical water bills, yet we are drowning in waters. The list of pet projects that our city council spent water bill monies on is staggering. Same goes for road tax revenues. The weird thing is everyone here sez they don't trust our politicians (and they shouldn't) yet they re-elect them. Blue Oregon went against the political tide last election day and all our f'n libs got re-elected; even a governor who is being investigated for a number of unscrupulous shenanigans. And the beat goes on.
 

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I suppose you could take some of the up to 100 billion we will waste on foreign wars this year and use it to fix some of our stuff that is broke at home instead?



http://mises.org/library/how-much-obamas-war-isis-going-cost

WTF
Not forgetting the billion$ our State Department lovingly stuffs into the treasuries of countries who hate us and the pockets of dictators who don't like us either. But they love our money. Whatever became of "charity begins at home?" :crzy:
 

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It's always a "more money" solution, especially when the story comes from 60 minutes, it's obviously the republicans who want crappy roads.

THE solution, SMALL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT that spends OUR money appropriately, and that can't happen with democratic/liberal or old school republican leadership... it IS a political problem, it DOES have everything to do with political leadership... plug in simple Tea Party principles and you can fix the roads, and our country.
 
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