The heirs to Leon Trotsky comment on the failure of the Skagit River bridge.
Interstate 5 runs from Canada, through or near most major west coast US cities, and south into Mexico. It serves as a major thoroughfare for travelers and trucking. As Skagit River Bridge acts as a major link between Canada and the US, and as a much-used route for commuters in the area—where Boeing has major operations—repairs are expected to take less time than the thirteen months of the collapsed Interstate 35W highway bridge in Minnesota. In the mean time, traffic is being thrown onto alternate routes, with local commutes that once averaged half an hour now hitting 70 minutes.

The area’s roads apart from the highway are not designed for such heavy traffic, to say nothing of major truck commerce, and the smaller bridges over the Skagit River will undergo additional strain. One of the alternate routes recommended by Washington State Department of Transportation (crossing the north fork of the Skagit River on Best Road) includes a bridge already noted as “structurally deficient,” with its last inspection being in August of 2010 when its substructure was given a rating of 4. The [state department of transportation] recommended alternate route to Canada, or for those who can bypass Mount Vernon along SR 9, likewise crosses a “structurally deficient” bridge with a substructure rating of 4.
Nowhere in the article is there any analysis of whether the deficiencies in the other highways are evidence either of insufficient influence exerted by the trucking companies in getting sturdier bridges built, or whether even the existing bridges are a form of corporate welfare.  It's apparently simpler to look at the large houses of a few wealthy people to stir up the peons.
Washington is home to eight of the Forbes 400 Richest people in the world, including Bill Gates (#1), and Steve Ballmer (#19) of Microsoft, Howard Schultz (#311) of Starbucks, and Jeff Bezos (#11) of Amazon.com. Together, just these four individuals hold US$106.6 billion—more than two and a half times that earmarked for infrastructure in the Fiscal Year 2014 national budget proposal by Obama.
That some of those people might have gotten rich by making it possible for people to engage in commerce without necessarily having to be in office buildings, or even in the same city, doesn't occur to the writer. That those capitalists might owe some of their large fortunes to people who opt out of commuting in cars doesn't occur to the writer.  That accumulated net worth is a stock, and road repair is a flow, is too sophisticated a concept for the heirs to Comrade Trotsky.

1 comment:

Dr. Tufte said...

Perhaps it's all really about envy and theft, and infrastructure is just the means to that end.