Here's a really good column on the failing infrastructure. I'll quote part of it.
Nick Coleman: Public anger will follow our sorrow
For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It's been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government.
I'm not just pointing fingers at Pawlenty. The outrage here is not partisan. It is general.
Both political parties have tried to govern on the cheap, and both have dithered and dallied and spent public wealth on stadiums while scrimping on the basics.
How ironic is it that tonight's scheduled groundbreaking for a new Twins ballpark has been postponed? Even the stadium barkers realize it is in poor taste to celebrate the spending of half a billion on ballparks when your bridges are falling down. Perhaps this is a sign of shame. If so, it is welcome. Shame is overdue.
At the federal level, the parsimony is worse, and so is the negligence. A trillion spent in Iraq, while schools crumble, there aren't enough cops on the street and bridges decay while our leaders cross their fingers and ignore the rising chances of disaster.
"It's been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government."
I think the key word there is "might". More taxes do not inherently mean more road money, in fact I highly doubt the new "winnings" would have translated into much more road work. Policitians are not good at spending new money on "boring" budgets like roads.
By default, ALL taxes end up in somebody's pocket. It's our job to elect people who will make sure that the tax money ends up in the "pocket" for which it was intended, or in the "pocket" that will put it to best use.
Like I said earlier...we will fix our roads and bridges, and there will be taxes assessed to do it. It's just a matter of "when"...
As far as local government goes, my first suggestion would be to stop throwing money into publically financed stadiums for privately owned sports teams...
Another thing to note about road repair, is that weather really takes a toll on roads in the midwest. Ever notice how much nicer roads are in area's that don't have climate shifts like iowa or minn. I wonder if federal dollars for road repair take this into mind. I would guess they don't because those states where the climate doesn't effect the roads as much generally have alot more people living there.
at least Iraq's infrastructure is improving......
Our government exists for only a few reasons. Infrastructure is one of them. If our government was spending it's money on things that it is allowed to do, then there would be plenty of money for things like this.
Just to clarify things a little; while the bridge was declared "deficient" in the last inspection, it was also deemed "safe" and not due for replacement until the year 2020.
I live in MN, work in downtown Minneapolis, & use that bridge regularly. Twice during the day it collapsed.
While the gas tax was vetoed by Pawlenty, the bill stated specifically that all funds must be used on roadway infastructure. However, I opposed it because it allowed for taxes collected in rural MN to be used on the roads in the Twin Cities. I would have been the beneficiary, but I just don't think it's right to have my folks who live on a farm, pay for roads they'll never use. If the money were to stay in the county where it originated, I think more people would be on board.
I read somewhere that people in the Twin Cities will end up spending more on gas because of sitting in traffic than they would have on the gas tax, which would have eased that congestion.
Congressional investigation spearheaded by Harry Ried into what Bush knew and when he knew it in 3... 2... 1...
Rosie O'Donnell's opinion on what happened - Bush secretly had the latest generation of a silenced C-4 attached to the bridge and had it blown. I mean, we all know that it was Bush that brought down the towers and not Al Qaida...