Sun Feb 19, 2012, 12:45 PM
xchrom (97,347 posts)
“The earth will move again in California, and the bridge must stay intact.”
Juliette Kayyem penned an interesting opinion piece in the Boston Globe titled, “Bridge to the future: This time, let’s build infrastructure that lasts.”
In the piece, Kayyem stresses the importance of looking beyond the immediate, job-creating impact of infrastructure investment:
'Infrastructure projects are too often promoted exclusively for job creation, a legacy of Obama’s early stimulus package. They focus our attention on quantifiable standards of jobs gained or money spent. That’s not necessarily bad, but it can limit how we judge the quality of these investments and how we build those projects.'
Paramount, Kayyem suggests, is the quality and sustainability of the investments the nation makes and the safety new constructions can guarantee. While downplaying local projects may strike a nerve with some (“Losing a two-lane bridge down the street from his house would be inconvenient, but of insignificance compared to losing the Golden Gate Bridge”), Kayyem’s piece is compelling nonetheless and we have excerpted it below:
'…We too often settle for a patchwork of fixes on what is broken, and don’t think enough about the most desirable way to fix things. The New Orleans levees that are still being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina will withstand a “100-year’’ storm, for example. That’s not such great news, according to an independent research panel that criticized the design, for those in New Orleans in year 101.'
***link to op ed
Bridge to the future
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S blueprint for fiscal 2013 has a lot of losers, and they are not the rich Americans who might see their taxes increased. Almost every department will suffer dramatic budget cuts in order to reduce the $1.3 trillion deficit. Priorities are more limited and once-favored programs have been killed.
Despite all the bad news for federal programs, the budget also reflects a commitment, in numbers, to rebuild our neglected infrastructure, including lots of crumbling bridges. It is ostensibly for job creation. But it is also an opportunity to promote the obvious, but so often ignored, sentiment that we should not simply build, but build to last. In all the frenzy for shovel-ready projects to invest in, the most valuable standard should be “22nd-Century-ready.’’
The Transportation Department, not often the favored child in federal outlays, is the big man on campus this week. With major investments in highways and public transportation as a way to spur job creation, the new budget increases the department’s mandatory and discretionary funding by 2 percent, and almost doubles the spending on our infrastructure. The money to do so comes directly from the peace dividend as the wars end in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Infrastructure projects are too often promoted exclusively for job creation, a legacy of Obama’s early stimulus package. They focus our attention on quantifiable standards of jobs gained or money spent. That’s not necessarily bad, but it can limit how we judge the quality of these investments and how we build those projects.
La Lioness said I'm Princess Spice. So there.
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Replies to this discussion thread
“The earth will move again in California, and the bridge must stay intact.” (Original post)
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Sun Feb 19, 2012, 03:03 PM
greymattermom (1,041 posts)
1. obvious in Cincinnati
They need to rebuild the I71/75(Brent Spence) bridge, where Obama gave an important speech, but the Roebling bridge, built in 1866, is still solid.
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Sun Feb 19, 2012, 04:41 PM
yurbud (32,466 posts)
2. unfortunately, there is an even more common reason than job creation: graft
construction contracts are big bucks. If politicians give them to the right people, they reap dividends in campaign contributions and later when they leave office, jobs.
That is why there isn't much appetite in Washington for direct job creation like the CCC during the New Deal. A government program can't give a politician a kickback.