Archive for bridges

Engineers: Thousands of US bridges dangerously close to collapsing, "only a matter of time"

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london bridge is falling down

Hey, remember when President Obama was out there campaigning for that crazy stimulus package? To rebuild our crumbling infrastructure? To make our roads and bridges safe again? And remember when Republicans obstructed and belittled him, saying that all he wanted to do was spend, spend, spend! and that would lead to the collapse of our already fragile economy!

How ironic, because by preventing a substantial economic stimulus program, those on the right are causing the collapse of our already fragile infrastructure before our very eyes, and very possibly the collapse of very lives and livelihoods.

According to the Times, "some of the most important bridge links in the country are now threatened by age." No sh**, Sherlock.

The Los Angeles Times:

America's roads and bridges have been eroding for decades, but the deeper they fall into disrepair, the less money there is to fix them. First, the recession crippled local budgets, cutting the money available for transportation projects. As states began to recover, the federal government adopted its own mandatory budget cuts via sequestration. Then last month, the federal legislation that annually funds transportation projects across the country hit a roadblock of Republican opposition that throttled multibillion-dollar transportation bills in the House and Senate. [...]

Every day, U.S. commuters are taking more than 200 million trips across deficient bridges, according to a variety of analyses, and at least 8,000 bridges across the country are both "structurally deficient" and "fracture critical" — engineering terms for bridges that could fail if even a single component breaks. [...]

Officials from several states, including Pennsylvania, have warned that without substantial new federal funding of the kind recently roadblocked in Congress, they may be forced to close many of their deficient bridges, potentially preventing cars, emergency vehicles and school buses from getting to entire neighborhoods. [...]

Got that, Republicans? Because you blocked funding, Americans are facing life-threatening situations, whether it be the misfortune of crossing a bridge just as it falls to pieces, or being denied emergency care due to a lack of access. Nice.

I live in Southern California, and per the Times report, 16 bridges right here in the Los Angeles area are "in the highest-risk category, aging and subject to collapse with the failure of a single component."

Thanks, GOP. You've done it again.

Via .ecobumperstickers.com

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Infrastructure Spending Anyone?

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construction

Andy Marquis, reporter for RACE22.com, is a guest blogger. He used to consider himself a Republican but not any more.  He changed his voter registration to Independent in 2011 and says that’s how it will remain.

Here’s his latest guest post:

So here I am sitting in a café in Blacksburg, Virginia because we are working our third full day without power at my home in Copper Hill.  I’ve had a lot of time to knock out some books on my extensively long reading list, but I’ve had a lot of time to think as well, and I’ve been thinking about all those who went weeks without power after Hurricane Sandy.

In all the barking going on in Washington about cutting spending and cutting taxes, I’ve not heard one person talk about the need to invest in our outdated infrastructure.  Infrastructure spending used to be bipartisan common sense, but not anymore.  President Obama and other Democrats have been stonewalled on anything and everything in terms of infrastructure by a radical TEA Party faction that is so extreme in its hatred of government that they’d rather see the country burn.

An infrastructure spending omnibus makes sense in urban and rural areas.  It puts people back to work immediately after it’s signed in to law by the President.  Infrastructure spending should’ve been discussed after the 2003 blackout, it should have been discussed after the I-35W bridge collapse and it should’ve been discussed after Hurricane Sandy.  But once that discussion takes place, people will realize that government can be an instrument of good and that’s something the TEA Party, and the mainstream Republican Party that continues to appease them, do not want to say.

If we discuss ways of making homes, current and future, more energy independent and we talk about ways people can cut back on power consumption, we can have a short term impact on the overloaded power grid and a long term impact on the goal of becoming more green, a goal this country should have.  If we start upgrading the power grid, nationally, and we start repairing and replacing outdated bridges, and paving dirt roads, and making rural areas just a little more modern, we can put able bodied people back to work and create a better country for everyone.

Or we can continue to not do a damn thing while China invests in its infrastructure and continues to attract private sector growth.  The Democrats know the government can work for everyone and make us more competitive again.  Independents know this.  Even moderate Republicans know this must be done.  And, maybe, if we do something, the next hurricane or the next ice storm will be a mere inconvenience and not a catastrophic event that disrupts the entire nation’s productivity in a growing workforce.

Until then, let’s all buckle up because going off this fiscal cliff is going to be a bumpy ride.

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