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Yankee Bridges Falling Down

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Today’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis brought back the memory of a warning issued by someone who should know against the decayed condition of American roads, bridges, and waterways.

In a previous incarnation, I looked at this issue, which Trish over at Pensito Review blamed on Bush’s tax cuts. (Once all of the neo-anderthals have rushed over to their keyboards to defend The Deciderer, I’ll resume.)

Sure, this assertion could be dismissed as mere liberal fulmination by those who don’t want to admit that Dubya’s Terror War For Oil led to unnecessary American deaths. But they should listen to one of their own desired economic class.

Back on March 30, 2006, UPS CEO Mike Eskew addressed the Houston Forum. During his talk, Eskew referred to the 2005 report card issued by American Society of Civil Engineers:

“… let’s put it this way: if your kids brought home report cards like this, someone would be grounded… aviation system got a D+; navigable waterways a D-; roads a D, and rails a C-.”

Eskew had noted back then that the US economy (and the standard of living which depends upon it) cannot function if the transportation sector isn’t up to the demands being placed upon it (the book selections below are partly intended to illustrate the importance of good transportation infrastructure), and that any improvements were going to require huge sums of capital. [July 22, 2007: Watch the video of ASCE again supporting this contention as featured on NBC Nightly News]. The heavy weight and numbers f military vehicles would only bring on final collapse sooner.

Back in 1956, someone certainly knew what can happen when a military is confronted with poor or nonexistent roads. President Eisenhower – while maybe remembering the troubles he had crossing northern France after transiting the defensive bulwarks of Festung Europa – signed a bill committing $25 billion dollars to the construction of the interstate highway system, a vital asset in the conduct of homeland security.

$25 billion in 1956 roughly equals $185 billion in 2006 dollars, or roughly the amount necessary (according to The Congressional Budget Office) to keep only 75,000 US troops in Iraq for one year.

But dare we trust our national security to a system rife with rot and ruin? The causes of today’s catastrophe combined the D- waterway infrastructure and the D roads, both certainly in worse shape than when Eskew issued his 2006 call to the American business leaders to wield their influence with national, state, and local government officials to fund improvements in America’s transportation network. He wasn’t the only one raising a hue and cry.

Hmmmm… just WHERE can billions of dollars be found that can be taken away from an unnecessary exercise that can be applied to the real threat facing this nation? Do the words “lied us into war” help direct your attention? If you are an honest person, you will agree that it does. Then ask yourself this question: What is the point to controlling the world’s oil if there is nothing suitable on which to operate oil-thirsty heavy traffic?

That is certainly just one of the questions that the ASCE continues to ask [scroll down for numerous and recent commentary features]. Halliburton and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy should have to dig the deepest of all to repair the damage they helped to cause.

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  • Dr Dreadful

    Re: my comment #3 on the other post on the subject of the bridge collapse: That goes for you too, Realist.

  • gotta agree…poor taste is putting it mildly

    completely fucked is about correct


  • Max Neocon

    Nobody “lied us into war” and the only people responsible for the bridge collapse thus far are the inspectors who looked at it last year and said it was still safe…they are to blame. [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor.]

  • If they wanted money to repair and maintain the bridge, there’s plenty being used to build completely unnecessary highways here in Texas.


  • Good to see someone else picked up on the ASCE 2005 Survey. When I Googled “America’s Crumbling Infrastructure”, the survey url came up on the first page.

    I noticed that no mainstream media outlet has even referred to it in their reportage yet. Our media just can’t resist sacrificing substance for sensation. The $1.6 trillion would be available had we obeyed George Washington’s counsel to avoid entangling alliances. Our priorities are so misplaced.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    I would have waited a day with this particular story. Unlike Bambenek’s satire, this piece has the redeemiong quality of outrage.

    One of the sidebars at the S’trib alluded to the survey you mention above. But i was trying to get a story written and the S’trib wanted me to log-in with a code name and all that other garbage; I don’t have time for a zillion code names and passwords – can’t keep track of them all.

    Not a bad job – but for the timing…

  • Nancy

    What’s truly tasteless is the rush by the local MSM to drum up business by compulsive, continuous speculating that local bridges are next. This sort of yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre should be illegal, IMO. However, Realist certainly has a point, that if BushCo hadn’t lied, cheated, & connived their way into this faux war to enrich their oil-company cronies, the US would have several billion to spend on its own citizens, instead of wasting it on Iraq. For that matter, John B. has a point also. I don’t know that I’m all that offended, on second thought, with these blogs. People ARE going to discuss the matter. At least on this blogsite, no one is making money off it, which is the big difference between John & Realist, & the politicians & MSM.

  • Dave sez: “If they wanted money to repair and maintain the bridge, there’s plenty being used to build completely unnecessary highways here in Texas.”

    To say nothing of a Bridge To Nowhere in alaska.

  • Max sez: “Nobody “lied us into war” …”.

    Sure they did. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell. They knew the whole WMD thing was untrue from their special DIA organization. Then they setup the hapless hopeless CIA and Tenant to take the fall. If the WMD were not a pretext they would have pulled out a month after the invasion.