It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Infrastructure, putting this fraudulet issue into it's proper perspective.

page: 1
4
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 09:49 AM
link   
For once, this is not the fault of the Federal gov't-well, at least not directly.

Having trucked in 49 states, 7 provinces and 2 territories over the decades, I have a grass roots perspective on the nations infrastructure.

I live approx. 30 miles north of the bridge that collapsed on I-5 several months ago and was directly affected by that mismanagement.

That bridge was in lousy shape, as are several others on I-5 very close to that collapsed crossing. Less than 1/4 of a mile from the collapsed bridge is another crossing,Wash route 9, which is both modern and in perfect condition. That bridge and a couple more close by-also in perfect condition- are all financed by the State of Washington...fully.

This collapsed bridge is on an interstate and is jointly financed by the Feds and the State. In other words, the State has half the expenses maintaining the collapsed crossing than the crossing that is in perfect condition!!

That doesn't make sense, one would think, does it!?

As with the gas and fuel taxes, in virtually every state, the monies generated are NOT spent on infrastructure. A large portion is put into general funding to be disbursed as directed by the state gov't. Usually, vote raising or good old boy support projects that garner more popularity than "repairs".

The same is done with the Federal funds sent to each state for highway repair and maintenance! Only a portion of that monies is used where it was intended, i.e. infrastructure. The portion varies from state to state. This "game" is nation-wide.

100% of the repairs for the I-5 collapse was paid for by the federal Gov't. None of the other bridges in the region that are also in disrepair have been worked on whatsoever. Even though the responsibility lies solely with the State gov't for the collapse!

I can speculate that the Federal Dems leave this issue untouched as it gives them another argument that the Federal gov't is remiss and needs to fund the infrastructure-thereby rewarding unions with more work- yet I can't even come up with any reason why the republicans don't counter that with the truth of what's going on.


Of course, now Washington Sate is proposing a gas tax increase of 5-10 cents per gallon AND a carbon tax that could reach 1.17 per gallon-all doable due to the oil industries fracking and resulting long term drop in oil costs- when it's all a fraud!

There are many similar situations nation-wide, Chicago's "two seasons-winter and construction"- self perpetuating union operation. New York city, the George Washington Bridge-75 dollars one way for a truck and trailor, New jersey, on and on.

Mo., I believe via referendum, forced both parties, in state, to spend all highway revenues on highways. The result? Infrastructure is no longer an issue!

Bottom line, is this state level "double talk" and not a federal issue.

So if you have been concerned about infrastructure and believed it to be proof of federal mismanagement, don't be. It's not.




posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 10:09 AM
link   
On further thought, I suppose that the reason the Republicans don't mention this as a federal issue is due to that ALL federal funding to the states falls into the category of Blackmail/bribes that allowed the bypass of the Tenth Amendment in the first place.

"Co-operate or we'll cut you off. Co-operate and we'll give you new monies.....

Both parties are guilty of making use of that one....



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 10:56 AM
link   
If the money was collected for the stated purpose of the taxes to begin with; social security, bridges, (and anything else you can think of the government manages) the whole system would ?? Yet they never have a problem asking for more and getting their way... Gas taxes will go up because even with the mileage loss due to alcohol being added to the gasoline cars are more fuel efficient.. Wait until they start charging by the mile on top of everything else... which in my opinion will be instigated in the next 5 to 15 years. Government is worse than a teenager on an allowance because, most residents of a country cannot "just say no".



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 11:11 AM
link   

nwtrucker
On further thought, I suppose that the reason the Republicans don't mention this as a federal issue is due to that ALL federal funding to the states falls into the category of Blackmail/bribes that allowed the bypass of the Tenth Amendment in the first place.

"Co-operate or we'll cut you off. Co-operate and we'll give you new monies.....

Both parties are guilty of making use of that one....


The reason I don't see this as a federal issue.

Its the simple fact that is what property taxes,toll road taxes, and lotteries are suppose to pay for.

I don't think we should rob from one state and give to another state when most people will see no direct benefit/never use those roads,and bridges.

What it really is enough money has been bailing out union jobs, since construction firms are unionized.

Infrastructure is another union baillout.

Not every one in America is a construction worker.



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 11:20 AM
link   

nwtrucker

That bridge was in lousy shape, as are several others on I-5 very close to that collapsed crossing. Less than 1/4 of a mile from the collapsed bridge is another crossing,Wash route 9, which is both modern and in perfect condition. That bridge and a couple more close by-also in perfect condition- are all financed by the State of Washington...fully.

This collapsed bridge is on an interstate and is jointly financed by the Feds and the State. In other words, the State has half the expenses maintaining the collapsed crossing than the crossing that is in perfect condition!!

That doesn't make sense, one would think, does it!?



Interesting angle.

So "interstate" has a federal interest in transportation from state to state, thus funded by Fed vs. State.

Infrastructure is certainly best managed locally where people have eyes on it and understand the immediate economic impact, but how to get this done where economics don't afford it? One state might prosper due to a bridge where a nearby community or state might just be cornfields to pass through on the way to another state. Shared costs by those two states might be a difficult negotiation.

I think at the end of the day, if we had less corrupt congressmen and senators, who are eager to channel funds for their own career prospects and/or profits, the fed would be better able to asses and return taxpayer dollars at the local level where needed vs. who has more pull in DC. Interstate transportation has been a Federal interest since the time of the civil war. There is shared economic value there, it just needs to be executed properly with less BS and payola IMO.



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 11:24 AM
link   
reply to post by neo96
 


The irony, at least here in Washington St., is no one is pointing this out. Not the "conservatives", nobody.

All are fixated on the federal issues while the states and counties are largely free from scrutiny to run their agendas as they please....



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 11:44 AM
link   
reply to post by Indigo5
 


Your raise a good point with the economic values varying state to state and location to location.

Individual projects are funded, I surmise, differently than "highway" maintenance. The infrastructure is largely a maintenance issue. Higher volume areas also produce higher tax revenues for the local gov'ts as well.

The states are so addicted to federal funding, the fear of
loss/reduction of that funding, that they cry "wolf" all the time, demanding, pleading for more monies. It's difficult to separate valid demands from specious ones...who decides what is valid or not?

Still infrastructure problems are largely state created problems and then plead for federal assistance to solve that "problem".
edit on 30-1-2014 by nwtrucker because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 11:46 AM
link   

Indigo5

Infrastructure is certainly best managed locally where people have eyes on it and understand the immediate economic impact, but how to get this done where economics don't afford it? One state might prosper due to a bridge where a nearby community or state might just be cornfields to pass through on the way to another state. Shared costs by those two states might be a difficult negotiation.


This COULD be true, but the sad reality is the state that can afford to have the well maintained bridge often chooses to ignore said bridge until after it collapses. The infrastructure of every state is OLD and the day is coming where decades of ignoring maintenance, and diverting the funds raised for maintenance, will result in unnecessary disasters.

Not just roads and bridges, but sewer systems, water lines, you name it. Texas is the worst. A stupid "rainy day fund" containing billions in funds but hell no to infrastructure maintenance!



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 12:01 PM
link   
reply to post by Indigo5
 


Again, I might be mistaken regarding Highway maintenance and bridge maintenance. Perhaps bridges aren't covered under the general highway funding and require specific project funds.

That would definitely change the equation.

In that case, both would be at fault.

Does anyone know if bridge repair on federal highways are separate from highway repairs on same?

In any event, as you say, the locals have a better grip on the local situation and bridges that are approaching dangerous should be addressed by the state and the funding addressed later. They maintain state bridges just fine, they can at least ensure the safety of their citizens as the priority.



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 07:32 PM
link   
reply to post by neo96
 


Not everyone is a construction worker and not every construction worker is union. I personally know some highly skilled non union guys but I ask you this.

A bridge is going to be built that you will travel across daily with your family. Who do you want welding the steel? A highly skilled union welder, that is trained, fully qualified and certified and routinely updates his skills and is well compensated for those skills or a non english speaking or reading person that says he can weld and will do it for 5 bucks an hour?



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 08:16 PM
link   
reply to post by tinner07
 


You make a good point. There is a big difference between "public Unions" and contractor/private sector unions.

The mess in our prison systems, education systems, et al, are at least partially, areas where unions have contributed to those problems, not solve them.

We've all seen the posters showing one guy digging the ditch, one guy being the safety person, one the supervisor, one the inspector and one the union rep.!

A little balance is in order one that one....
edit on 30-1-2014 by nwtrucker because: clarification



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 08:28 PM
link   
reply to post by nwtrucker
 


Of course we all know those pictures and they are hard to explain, Most of those seem to be electric companies and phone company but in my trade any time I enter a confined space there is an attendant whose job is to do nothing but stand there and keep an eye on me, If down in a manhole perhaps they need more. And many of them have a piece of heavy equipment digging with several guys leaning on shovels. I don't know about you but I'm staying back while the rig is digging lol.

I agree we have lots of problems with our infrastructure. There is no good answer to fixing it, but using the money earmarked for it would be a good start



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 08:42 PM
link   
No, just... no.

Highway funding isn't nearly as simplistic as most people would believe.

The Federal Highway Trust Fund was created in 1956 to, obviously, fund highway infrastructure needs in both maintenance and new construction. Since that time, quite a lot has gone wrong with the program. These issues are saddle burrs for both parties, which is why they rarely are acted upon by the feds.

Some examples:

1. Pedestrian and bicycle facility requirements have been pushed by DC over the past 2 decades. These design elements add major, major costs to highway projects. You're dealing with everything from additional paving and concrete for curbs, sidewalks, and curb ramps to dramatically increased Right-of-Way purchases, most of which ultimately result in a significant property value markup prior to the agency take. If the FHWA is contributing a single cent to a project, then that project had better be fully ADA compliant, accomodate bicycle facilities (usually with an additional property buffer unless a compelling, NON COST RELATED reason not to can be presented), and have other recent costly regulations accomodated such as anadromous fish passages on streams that used to be handled with a simple large bore metal culvert. All of these balloon costs significantly and, let's be honest here, cyclists, walkers, and fish don't contribute to the fuel and tire taxes the same way a guy driving his car to work every day does.

2. Regulations, permits, and analysis cycles... Unlike 1956, 2014 roadway construction costs also include a whole slew of permit costs, including a high front end cost of preparing and researching them. Then there's the added cost of mitigation. In the past 10 years there's been a movement by the Feds towards increased costs not being a suitable reason to not avoid an enviornmental impact. If bridging or bypassing a simple wetland increases your cost by $20 Million, too bad! Should have factored that cost into your preliminary coridor engineering estimate. Plus, if it is classified as a cultural resource site, critical habitat, or protected wetland, then you're looking at zero chance of negatively impacting it and the Feds will order the road moved... which creates conflicts because often it is the Feds who are demanding the road be built/improved in the first place. Then you've got the flood impacts and "environmental justice" issues which dictate that your project undergo a complete federal review leading to a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the Feds or, far worse, a Federal rejection of a FONSI which essentially starts the entire process over again.

3. The Road to Nowhere Leads To Me... In the 70s and 80s, America underwent a vast increase in the number of highway projects, largely thanks to Carter and Reagan instituting workplans and tabbing roads as good busy work to create jobs. This lead to a lot of paved roads that served very few people. It is infinitely easier to get federal approval to turn a dirt road black (pave it) than it is to get approval to strip the paving off a blacktop road and change it to dirt. Conversely, maintenance of asphalt is a lot more expensive than monthly regrading of a dirt road with a blade. There are a lot of rural areas which simply shouldn't have a huge paved road network, but they're stuck with one and the money to maintain them comes from the state and from the Feds... and yes, it robs Peter to pay Paul, as that money could better be used to revitalize existing roadways and bridges that see greater use.

4. Legacy-seeking politicians... Building something new is a lot sexier than repairing something which is broken, especially when you're repairing a bridge or a road. When a bridge has reached its design life, it usually isn't apparent to the general public. Once a concrete and steel structure begins to fail, it does so catastrophically. Concrete has no elasticity and steel has no compressive strength. In other words, when rebar rots, concrete is pulled apart like a shortbread cookie being fought over by two toddlers and when concrete crumbles away, rebar collapses like an empty Coke can stepped on by a fat man. There is no glitz in spending millions to rebuild a bridge the general public likely views as being just fine. Thus: Money spent on building brand new facilities while turning a blind eye to 50 year old bridges that have reached their life cycle.

5. "Other" transportation projects using TEA funds from the trust. Many of these recent high speed and light rail projects have been funded using Trust Fund money. The last 15 years saw a glut of light rail projects, many of which were in states and cities that absolutely did not have the ridership potential to warrant the expenses. Look at the light rail in New Mexico. They haven't even had the ridership to break even on the annual operating costs yet, let alone the millions it cost to construct it! That is simply foolish stewardship over tax dollars. Every cent of the money used was needed elsewhere, but again... legacy hunting followed with political priorities equals spending debacles. A lot of communities have bus programs which are also funded from the trust fund, in complete negligence of what the fund was initially set up to do.

There really are only 3 answers to the problem. First, redirect the Trust fund expenditures to maintenance, repair, and reconstruction BEFORE allowing a single cent to stray into new coridor construction. Next, lock down roadway expenditures to only be used on roadway projects. Funding for pedestrian, rail, and alternative transportation projects must come from a separately funded source... perhaps a handlebar tax on bikes and a shoe tax on walkers? (I kid, but that's pretty much exactly the nature of taxes motorists are expected to pony-up on for the honor of having roads to drive on.) Finally, there needs to be a recentering of the entire system, focused on public input. Enough with the red tape, legacy hunting, and buddy projects! Start putting actual projects on ballots instead of just putting the transportation bonds up for vote in November. Ask the voters: "Should we reconstruct Road A or build Road A-2 next year? Before you answer, here's what the expected costs for each will be and who will benefit from each." Start drawing John Q. Citizen into the inner workings of transportation planning and economics. Worst case scenario, the publics' eyes will glaze over and they'll begin to speak in tongues, but I bet there's a core of voters who will actively explore the topic and once you have public buy-in, credit AND fault become shared, which will reduce legacy hunting as well as bolster responsibility for decision making. Both of which equate to an improved product, in this case roads.



posted on Jan, 30 2014 @ 08:46 PM
link   
We are led to believe, through taxes and threat of legislation, that such fixes would be implemented.

This debate leads us to ask the following: What are our States doing with their gas-taxes and what is our Federal Government doing with their gas-taxes; both of which are proclaimed to be used for infrastructure.....



posted on Jan, 31 2014 @ 04:15 PM
link   
reply to post by burdman30ott6
 


I see a lot of your post regards construction-new projects-as opposed to maintaining existing infrastructure. Yet, the rhetoric has been on the dilapidated condition of our EXISTING infrastructure which implies maintenance. It was from that "political" spin that I was coming from as an issue and thread.

As you say, obviously much more complicated than a cursory look would reveal. However, Nothing changes the fact that the states are and have been using gas and diesel tax revenues outside their intended purposes and that if spent on those intended purposes there would be no infrastructure issues.

As evidenced in Washington St. by myself, nothing had been done to the interstate bridges whatsoever even though the federal funds are allocated on a regular basis and the state bridges are as modern and well maintained as anyone's.

I include the disbursement of federal funds, at a guess, on top of the state revenues.

There hasn't been very much new interstate expansions is quite a while-other than on/off ramps and as you point out property acquirement for the like.

Bottom line is if the states were mandated to spend their gas/fuel revenues on infrastructure maintenance, as the example Missouri has set, then maintenance of the infrastructure wouldn't be an issue.

Gov't dept.s always have more projects they would like to do....always. In the Dept. of Highways, it's pedestrians, bicycles, roundabouts-gag- on and off ramps.... they always want more money.

Put the revenues fully into their intended purpose instead of general funds and a lot of this goes away.



posted on Jan, 31 2014 @ 04:34 PM
link   

nwtrucker
reply to post by burdman30ott6
 


I see a lot of your post regards construction-new projects-as opposed to maintaining existing infrastructure. Yet, the rhetoric has been on the dilapidated condition of our EXISTING infrastructure which implies maintenance.


A major component of that is design life, though. Virtually all bridges have a 0 year design life. That means every (standard) bridge in the US built before 1965 *should* be on a critical project list and scheduled for either retrofit or full replacement within the next 5 years. Design life isn't a maintenance issue, although the service life can be significantly shorter than the design life if maintenance is neglacted. Design life pertains to internal and functional stress limits induced by day-to-day normal use. Roads usually have a 20-30 year design life, with a 5-year 50% resurfacing schedule. That means the DOT expects to chipseal half the road every 5 years and should be planning to carve the roadway down to subgrade and rebuild the complete structural section after 20-30 years. The US has scores of roadways that are way past their design life and just as many bridges in the same situation.

Skagit River I-5 bridge I believe you're referring to was a nearly 60-year old structure, well past the likely 50 year design life, but was testing out well on structural soundness. The problem was the bridge was functionally deficient, and it was that deficiency which brought the bridge down. WSDOT knew the bridge lacked proper clearance. This wasn't a maintenance issue, it was a management and enforcement issue.



posted on Jan, 31 2014 @ 05:31 PM
link   
reply to post by burdman30ott6
 


A little more on the I-5 bridge. It was hit...rather "clipped" by an oversize tractor-trailer out of Canada just before the collapse and that company will be getting a major insurance ding by the time this is all sorted out.

If I sent you pictures of the I-5 bridges and the county bridges, the empirical evidence suggests there are no "old' bridges over the Skagit river that the State is 100% responsible for and non-stop old bridges on the I-5.

Once again, apparently, the feds paid for 100% for the repairs-further incentive for the state to allow continued deterioration on the interstate bridges? Granted, I don't know what the arrangement is for bridge upgrades/replacement between the states and Feds, whether the federal monies come out of the fund or additional allocation, etc.

Let me ask you this seeing you have far more knowledge in the area than I do. Do you agree that the states, in whatever portion, use gas and diesel tax revenues in general funds as opposed to highway repair/improvements they were intended? If so, would that not mitigate, at least somewhat, the overall infrastructure issue?

Seeing you point out the vast number of bridges that seem to be reaching terminal status all at once, nation-wide, changes my viewpoint to some degree...I stand corrected on that one.

I still hold the belief that higher state responsibility and less suckling at the federal teat-less federalism-is in the long run the best course.

Lastly, do you see the example Missouri set as a potential model in improving the infrastructure?

Thanks for the imput.
edit on 31-1-2014 by nwtrucker because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 31 2014 @ 06:06 PM
link   

nwtrucker
Let me ask you this seeing you have far more knowledge in the area than I do. Do you agree that the states, in whatever portion, use gas and diesel tax revenues in general funds as opposed to highway repair/improvements they were intended? If so, would that not mitigate, at least somewhat, the overall infrastructure issue?


Yes, but most states will argue that the money goes towards a transportation application of some nature and, therefore, isn't exactly "general fund" used. The problem is pretty much just the existence of some sizeable loopholes in the law. A lot of states, like Washington, interpret the law to mean gas tax takes can be used for any transportation expenditure... not just highways. That said, I don't *believe* that a single cent of state funds would have been used on Skagit bridge because it is an interstate bridge. Feds pay reimburse the states 100% on any interstate cost, maintenance, repair, reconstruct, expansion, any expense. It's a fully Federal owned facility which is only maintained physically by the state DOTS because the feds don't have maintenance yards. The contract between the states and feds operates very much like a property management firm does, with the feds retaining ownership and the DOT functioning as the Fed's contractor.



I still hold the belief that higher state responsibility and less suckling at the federal teat-less federalism-is in the long run the best course.


I'd be inclined to agree with you if it wasn't for the power of obstruction the feds hold on infrastructure projects. If you kick a teenager out of the house, you also should be expected to lose the right to dictate what they do with their life. That's the Libertarian in me, though... The money paid to the states by the Feds is little more than dowry money, paid to keep them from complaining about the inanity of Federal rule over everything they do. Take away the money, take away any reason for the state to give 2 flips what the Feds' lapdog agencies like the EPA and ACOE think about projects.


Lastly, do you see the example Missouri set as a potential model in improving the infrastructure?

I'm not sure it was Missouri. According to ASCE's Infrastructure repiort card 2013, they were struggling mightily in the area of roads and bridges, with nearly 20% being structurally deficient and another 20% being operationally obsolete. Their funding doesn't appear to be any more state-sourced robust than anyone else's either. Do you have a link to the specific referendum by chance? I'd like to read it.



posted on Jan, 31 2014 @ 07:01 PM
link   
reply to post by burdman30ott6
 


RE: Missouri .This was"truck stop" chatter, combined with personal experience driving I-44 and I-70, vast improvements...and that was at least 10 years ago. Since then, I've haven't been out that way and with what's occurred economically since then, who knows? So, no, no link and no info on the current situation, but I will try to find out more about it...Also heard-once-through the trucker grapevine that Florida had a similar law..I'll check on that one, as well...



posted on Jan, 31 2014 @ 07:21 PM
link   
reply to post by burdman30ott6
 

OK. A quick search and what actually occurred was a voter approved amendment to the Missouri Constitution (#3) passed in 2004 and fully implemented July 2009.

Previously, 50% of the Vehicle sales tax revenue went to the MoDOT and 50% to general funds.

The amendment changed that to 100% of the vehicle sales tax going to the Mo.DOT. and none to the general fund.

Missouri Constitution Amendment three googled show the priorities of the funds dispersal including back bonds, and reserves sufficient to cover principal and interest of existing bonds for the next twelve months.

There was a big jump in road quality for a period there, again who know what the current economic situation is.



new topics

top topics



 
4
<<   2 >>

log in

join