America is one big pothole – stupid is as stupid does

In January, 2014, I wrote the blog “America is one big pothole” after seeing former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, on PBS Newshour. They have joined together for a bipartisan effort to promote much needed investment in our crumbling infrastructure – roads, bridges, railways, ports, etc. and have been in front of Congress to discuss these needs. Fifteen months later, not much has been done about the growing problems, and at the end of this month, our stop-gap funding of the Highway Trust Fund will expire one more time.

The Amtrak accident has caused people to recognize the need, but to be honest politicians do not need anymore wake-up calls. They are fully informed of the problems, but choose not to do anything about it. Their lack of stewardship is not a surprise, but in this case, people have died and will die from their failure to act. The interesting sidebar to this is any investment in infrastructure will create jobs and, as you may recall, that was supposed to be the number one mission of this and previous Congresses. These jobs will dwarf the jobs that could be created with a Keystone Pipeline, for example, and certainly deserve more attention than many of the items discussed in the chamber of Congress.

As reported on a repeat episode on “60 Minutes” last night, this is one issue that the leaders of the US Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO labor union agree on. Both were in front of Congress last fall to plead with them to invest in our crumbling infrastructure. Yet, the leaders of these Congressional Committees refused to be interviewed and will not act. And, fifteen months after the following post and six months following these pleas by the US Chamber and AFL-CIO leaders, not much has happened.

The Speaker of the House has reacted with criticism over linking the Amtrak train derailment with a lack infrastructure investing. He even stated the question as “stupid.” I recognize, as do many, that this accident is likely due to excessive speed. But, one of the investments would have added a breaking system that may have kicked in. One thing is for certain, a question about failing to invest in our infrastructure is not “stupid.” What is “stupid” is failing to act when the information to do so is so compelling and business and labor are pleading for action.

Just a quick example from the “60 Minutes” episode re-aired last night. A key railway bridge has 500 trains per day crossing it, the most heavily used railway bridge in the western hemisphere. This bridge is on the most traveled rail line in the country from Boston to New York to Philadelphia. If this bridge goes, it will not be an accident. It will be an accident waiting to happen that could be prevented.

There are other arguments noted in the attached post. Please join with me and write your Congressional representatives and ask them to act. In fact, we should tell them to act as their lack of stewardship is beyond poor. Using the Speaker’s word, their failure is “stupid” and we will be the ones who pay for their stupidity.

17 thoughts on “America is one big pothole – stupid is as stupid does

  1. As I have said before, Congressmen are too busy raising funds for re-election to actually do the job they are paid to do. And, as you say, It is we who suffer!

    • Low interest rates are not as low as their interest in doing their job. Often, they pass campaign rhetoric such as the Obamacare repeals which they know won’t go anywhere. That is a waste of space.

  2. Politicians themselves are a waste of space. If we really want change in this country, we should put into place housewives who know how to budget and fathers of middle to low class families who know what it costs to feed their families and how tough life in this country really is today. THEY know what is important – politicians are only interested in lining their pockets and helping their rich friends while the rest of us suffer…..

  3. I know my new Congressman is on board to push for change. I saw and heard the Speaker completely dismiss any thought that this disaster was caused by anything other than speed. I’m not sure how they sleep at night knowing their lack of sense enabled these lives to be lost. I will be writing!!

  4. Note to Readers: One of the metaphors for how bad our infrastructure is was noted on “60 Minutes.” In PA, they built a partial overpass beneath a bridge and over a highway, whose only purpose is to catch falling debris from the taller bridge. So, rather than replace or repair the bridge, we built a garbage bucket beneath disguised as an overpass. I am sure it was cheaper, but this shows a lack of courage to get needed money to do what is needed.

  5. It won’t be an accident, it will be a crime! If an individual or a business has an unsafe structure that injures someone, they can be sued for negligence for not keeping their property in good repair.

  6. The same kind of crap happens here in Canada. “Job stimulus” translates to one of two things almost every time. Lower interest rates so poor and middle class people can spend more money they don’t have. Or, give more tax breaks to corporations and rich people so they will create jobs for the poor people. Bunch of crap.

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