A sobering report in today’s Washington Post:
The United States is saddled with a rapidly decaying and woefully underfunded transportation system that will undermine its status in the global economy unless Congress and the public embrace innovative reforms, a bipartisan panel of experts concludes in a report released Monday.
U.S. investment in preservation and development of transportation infrastructure lags so far behind that of China, Russia and European nations that it will lead to “a steady erosion of the social and economic foundations for American prosperity in the long run.”
…Co-chaired by two former secretaries of transportation – Norman Y. Mineta and Samuel Skinner – the group estimated that an additional $134 billion to $262 billion must be spent per year through 2035 to rebuild and improve roads, rail systems and air transportation.
“We’re going to have bridges collapse. We’re going to have earthquakes. We need somebody to grab the issue and run with it, whether it be in Congress or the White House,” Mineta said Monday during a news conference at the Rayburn House Office Building.
The best part is how this report comes out just a few weeks before the “Tea Party”-emboldened GOP is widely forecast to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s going to be awfully hard to pay for all that needed infrastructure once we’ve cut the federal government “in half” like Scott Tipton wants, isn’t it? Here in Colorado, how are we even supposed to think about fixing the hundreds of defective bridges in the state, let alone keep pace with needed new development, if we vote away all the tools necessary to do so?
This is where the ideology meets reality–and loses. You’re not supposed to be thinking about this in rational terms. You’re not supposed to ask, since Colorado already has such a comparatively low tax burden to most other states, and resultant funding levels for just about everything in the nether reaches of those same state rankings–why more cuts are “necessary.” You’re not supposed to ask Tipton what the country would actually look like with a federal government chopped “in half,” just like you’re not supposed to ask what happens to bridges if you don’t maintain them. You’re just so angry about all this “spending,” throw the bums out! Right?
It’s like that warning you shouted in a bad dream, danger ahead, but nobody can hear you.