Thursday, July 21, 2011

It’s not too late to right the ship

In a not-so-distant past, our energy was cheap, fuel and leisure were somewhat affordable for the working family, prices of everyday goods were in check and, if we were fortunate enough, we saved a little.

It was during these years of prosperity that we expanded our suburbs, added to sprawl, bought big vehicles, invented long commutes, and borrowed on credit in pursuit of the American Dream.

With the economy in its current state, we’ve showed the world that we’ve been on an unsustainable path. But is it too late to right the ship? Not as long as we can adapt and learn.

Most of us have learned to scale back. Many people, including small-business owners, have had to tap into savings, eliminate frills and cut costs. Most of us are doing more with less. We’re stretching our vehicles and equipment further, we’ve pinched our pennies and we’ve taken “staycations.”

To be honest, I think society is feeling a little buyer’s remorse. And who could blame us. All we keep hearing right now is how much the government has spent and how much we should cut to square things away.

But is this the right answer for transportation?

Uncertainty and a lack of focus for transportation programs have left federal, state and local governments in so-called shortfalls.

To get the house in order, we should be building, rebuilding, strengthening and maintaining our highway and bridge network in addition to eliminating red tape and waste. All of this could be done responsibly as long as the funds aren’t raided for other purposes.

The highway network is the lifeblood of the economy and it has proven its worth. Without this crucial resource in top condition, the futility is sure to pile up.

This problem is not going to fix itself. We can pay what it’s worth to fix and maintain our system now, or we can let it deteriorate even further and take our chances down the line. Considering that the vast majority of freight moves by truck, the answer seems obvious to me.

It’s not too late to right the ship, and it starts with a long-term surface transportation bill that reinforces the very network our economy is built on.

3 comments:

  1. Exactly, our roads and bridges will pay a crucial part in any economic recovery.

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  2. Your thoughts bring mine to the words "Shovel Ready". Perhaps our "elected representatives" should ask why highway projects apparently lacked planning and so did not get "Stimulated".
    Perhaps political forces combining with Private Forces are simply awaiting winds of crisis to allow selling more of our infrastructure to foreign corporations via "Public Private Partnerships" (to wit: Atlanta's new TOLL ROAD PPP project just announced.

    Drivers need to ask their politicians and news venders "WHY no roads?"

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  3. Well,Mr. Tanner. Your statements speak of the way private buisness might well run the ship. Yet,remember that Congress, controlled by big buisness interests and the U.S. Treasury,which is controlled by the IMF,the world bank and the like,have no vested interest in repairing and maintaining the basic lifeline of our country. The new model is to sell our highways to the highest private bidder,for 99+ years and a great profit to the bidders. Congress, from it's inception, has robbed the Social Security system.You know, "rob Peter to pay Paul"? There is no impetus to fix anything. How about the budget, 14+ trillion in the red,by government account, and by some analysts in the market, closer to 60+ trillion with interest. A wise Congress would at least pay the interest on the debt.A wise leadership(the whole of Congress and the President)should have dug in and made funds available for highway infrastructure a long time ago.yet even small buisnesses cannot garner a loan.Viable and continuing,in the short term, buisnesses, whose employees spend the money that makes this country move. The whole of Congress and the Whitehouse have reached their level of incompetence. Disaster awaits....

    DB

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