Well, if you have shit for brains, like the editorialists at the Bristol Herald-Courier do, you call for the American people to blindly fork over the cash. Again:
Infrastructure needs attentionWorthy? Yes. Money already seized from the American taxpayer for the purpose of repairing America's roads and bridges? Yes.
The nation’s aging infrastructure – particularly bridges and highways – was not front page news until the collapse of the interstate bridge in Minneapolis thrust it into the spotlight.
The collapse was a wake-up call in a nation with more than 73,000 structurally deficient bridges and another 79,000 bridges that are functionally obsolete, meaning they are carrying traffic loads that exceed their capacity. The bridges can be brought up to modern standards, but the repair work won’t be cheap.
We must do it anyway.
If ever there was a worthy investment of federal and state tax dollars, this is it. (link)
Two short years ago, the United States Congress allocated a quarter of a trillion dollars ($286,400,000,000) in something called - to show that government employees DO have a sense of humor - the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)." In the words of the federal Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the legislation:
... guaranteed funding for highways, highway safety, and public transportation totaling $244.1 billion*, SAFETEA-LU represents the largest surface transportation investment in our Nation's history. The two landmark bills that brought surface transportation into the 21st century—the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)—shaped the highway program to meet the Nation's changing transportation needs. SAFETEA-LU builds on this firm foundation, supplying the funds and refining the programmatic framework for investments needed to maintain and grow our vital transportation infrastructure.August 2005. Exactly two years ago: "SAFETEA-LU builds on this firm foundation, supplying the funds and refining the programmatic framework for investments needed to maintain and grow our vital transportation infrastructure."
August 2007: "... [M]ore than 73,000 structurally deficient bridges and another 79,000 bridges that are functionally obsolete" exist throughout this country.
How about we begin this conversation by asking: Where in the hell did that quarter trillion dollars go?
Instead we ask: Half a trillion? "If ever there was a worthy investment of federal and state tax dollars, this is it."
If this were a stockholders meeting, where - hold onto your chair - an accounting of expenditures and improvements derived from them are routinely demanded, you'd be run out on a rail.
Instead it's our country. And we don't ask any questions. We hold nobody accountable. We simply reach into our wallets. And wait for the next request.
We're idiots. We're all idiots.
* The remainder went to pet projects like our congressman's $3.5 million horseback riding trail in Scott County.