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Darth_Yuthura
06-23-2009, 10:53 AM
With the latest US economic crisis, President Obama had decided one of the best ways to combat the depression was to establish programs to repair the US infrastructure. Programs to replace bridges, repair highways, reinforce water mains, reconstruct sewage systems, and maintain the power grid were great ideas to create jobs; but he underestimated the sheer capital that would be required to provide for all of these.

When WWII ended, the US started establishing transportation and utility systems all across the nation, but the majority of the systems are reaching the point where they have to be replaced. Bridges designed to last 50 years are reaching the end of their lifespan and they will have to be replaced. The incident in Minneapolis was a major event, but it was just a symptom of a much greater problem: the US infrastructure is getting old. And most of the systems are reaching the end of their lifespans all at once.

The US has become dependent on roads and the power grid, and yet they are both dangerously taxed and outdated to the point that they are going to start failing more and more frequently across the nation. The problem is that there is simply not enough funding to maintain what's in place, let alone to replace what elements are reaching the end of their lifespan.

Obama has dedicated under $100 billion towards repairing the US infrastructure, but the projected costs for transportation, power, and water/sanitation systems are going to be in the trillions.

The point of this thread is me asking people for feedback about failures they've encountered and really just seeing where stimulus money is going in regards to repairing the US infrastructure.

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The Oakland Bay bridge is one such place where it makes sense to invest stimulus money because the economic cost of losing the original bridge would be far greater than whatever is being pumped into the construction of a new bridge designed to last a century ($2.6 billion). Or does it not?

California can barely pay to keep itself operating, so where are they going to get all this money? I certainly don't like the idea of taxpayers elsewhere footing the bill for this kind of project that doesn't involve them.

Anyone else with any complaints as to where their taxes are going to?

Jae Onasi
06-23-2009, 11:29 AM
Serious topics belong in Kavar's, not Ahto. Don't post serious topics in Ahto again, please.

Jae Onasi
06-23-2009, 11:38 AM
Currently we have a major construction project going on increasing traffic lanes on I-94 between Milwaukee and the WI/IL border from 3 to 4, along with completely reconfiguring the interchanges and access roads. It was a shovel ready project at the time the stimulus package got released so the relevant counties started moving on the project immediately. Those areas did need a lot of attention--with the growth in the SE counties, the interchanges have become high-accident areas along with just amazingly bad road quality. Reconfiguring them will hopefully improve road quality and decrease accidents.

Darth_Yuthura
06-23-2009, 12:14 PM
Some sites to consider:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=us-infrastructure-crumbling-2009-01-28

http://www.answers.com/topic/infrastructure

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/27/national/main4758836.shtml

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2648_127/ai_54680883/

http://www.usmayors.org/maf/documents/20081027-Infrastructure.pdf

Also take into account that I am not making ANY declarations of any kind. These kind of flaws speak for themselves.

Lord of Hunger
06-23-2009, 01:08 PM
I do not mind Obama's spending spree so much as Congress' pay. If only the President could order Congress to lower their own wages! Our representatives and senators in both state and federal levels fail daily to even work on solving our problems. At least Obama is actually tackling them, it's just a question how well he does it (I think in many cases it's too early).

People (well, the GOP in particular) are accusing Obama of being a tyrant. I'm not sure how much I would mind tyranny from our executive branch if it would mean that we could throw out all of elected officials in the legislative branch and start over, with neither Republicans or Democrats. Hell, we could use a few good Libertarians so that on social issues people are free to do what they want, but only if it doesn't bring harm to others (unlike Republicans who keep shouting freedom but really just want religious control of social issues). As much as I disagree with them, some members of the Green Party would as be nice, since they actually believe in the Green ideology (as opposed to Democrats who say they aim to protect the environment but ultimately just raise subsidies for agricultural corporations and the like).

I also think Obama should feel free to raise taxes on the wealthy, which is something I was against last year. Why was I against it? I held the ill informed view that it would be a "socialist" measure that would essentially contradict our American ideal of rewarding those who accomplish something. What changed my mind partially is that the 2008 election results showed that the wealthy of this country voted for Obama, essentially saying "we don't mind paying more if it'll fix things." Plus, I'm betting that there are plenty of the upper class who would like to be forced to do more to earn their extremely high wages or even live in a less expensive and grandiose mansion or villa. Does this sound naive? Yes, but I'm betting that the wealthy eventually get bored with their economic status and hope for some sort of excuse to live more the edge.

Ultimately, getting his health care reform through our leeches...er, Congress :D is what will get us out of debt. It ain't war that's crushing out government's budget, it's the fact that we have so many pointless middlemen standing in the way of our health care, so many pointless documents. At least Obama has paid to make the process digital so we don't have to fill out more forms.

I have every confidence that President Obama can and will fix our infrastructure. What I don't have confidence in is our Congress, which has done jack to help us.

Darth_Yuthura
06-23-2009, 02:40 PM
Maybe we should look to a realistic solution (although playing god would be nice).

If it would cost so much to rebuild the US infrastructure, then instead of squandering more resources into this 'hydrogen economy,' we must reinforce what already exists first. If there is not enough funding for all these projects, then the only way to provide it is by taxing the ones demanding it all to pay whatever is required before it breaks down. That means everyone being responsible for their piece of the infrastructure and not manipulating taxes by creating artificial rates or altering anything other than what it costs for each person to have their utilities working properly. I for example would have to pay more to the electric company because we have 5 poles leading to a single home. Why should others pay our share of the electric grid when we're actually demanding more for those five poles than we are returning to the electric company?

I know the instant higher taxes is suggested, everyone begins to protest; but wouldn't that be better than for the power to go out without warning? To have your basement flooded with sewage before someone decides to act? To have a viaduct collapse before a new one is built (often hastily and disrupting life until it's rebuilt) I find this not to be a matter of what people want, but necessity. When you don't have the funding to pay to maintain a nation's infrastructure, then that means that it costs more to maintain than what is returned from taxes. When you have fewer people driving, and paying gas taxes, then you must sacrifice something in order to cope with the reduced funding.

Web Rider
06-23-2009, 03:09 PM
I think Colorado's solution for roads is a rather good one, let corporations build the roads, and install toll booths every so often. With the new digital toll devices, you don't even have to slow down. Yes, it costs you about 5 dollars for the device and you sign up with it just like a Sirius radio. No annual fees though, just buy it and whenever you hit a toll both, bam, paid.


It should be noted in regard to dams, that several years ago(2003 I think), the Army Corps of Engineers changed the numbers in regards to fault lines. Nothing actually changed about the earth mind you, they just changed what they thought about it. As such, many dams, including one in my home town, were considered in "immediate danger of failure" due to some sort of earthquake.

So, just throwing it out there, just because someone says it's "worse" doesn't mean that the bar just didn't get higher.

here's the website for the report card BTW http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

Darth_Yuthura
06-23-2009, 03:51 PM
Water resources: Desalinization is going to be critical to states like Florida. Locations west of the Rocky mountains are not going to depend so greatly on this technology, but they have their own problems with levies. Locations where salt water is drawn into aquifers are faced with having to quickly shift from one source of fresh water to another source. By using desalinization, and raising water prices accordingly, it would allow for a more gradual adjustment in prices while easy sources of fresh water are not taxed as heavily.

I-35 disaster: The symptoms of this disaster are the same for many other bridges. They are supporting more cars than what they were designed for over the course of decades. Most highways are nearing 50 years old and there are going to have to be replaced. The problem is that it would require building the bridges before the original ones collapse. The I-35 traffic was stalled for over a year while the old bridge was out of commission. The cost of loosing the bridge was in the billions (because it disrupted the economy)

The biggest problem with replacing the US infrastructure is also keeping the present systems functioning while the new ones are placed. Boston's Big Dig is a prime example of this, as it couldn't simply shut the roads down while construction took place. In requiring not to disrupt the old system, the new ones are going to be more expensive. People must face the fact it will be more expensive than anyone realizes, but that the alternative is to have everything periodically shut down and disrupt life while it is fixed. We must work and pay to keep the system operational in order to avoid having to pay an even greater toll when calculating the losses that will take place when the next disaster emerges.

Qui-Gon Glenn
06-26-2009, 10:59 PM
I find it an example of old thinking, and I am generally pro-Obama, but he is not providing any new or original solution or line of thought with this.

Repairing much of our infrastructure is condemning ourselves to more time lost in traffic jams, fighting traffic, breathing bad air.

Do away with the roads, but trailers on tracks like they are supposed to be, and let people fly around.

Wishful thinking? Sort of - the technology is really all right there. The train tracks have been waiting for years to get used again. All the concrete and blacktop is as much to blame for global warming as the next likely scapegoat.... IMO (for you data crunchers).

Flying a personal aircraft was the dream I had in grade school... you can see it all over my drawings, as far back as 1977 (oh wait... that's the year ANH came out.... hmmm)

I really believed then that the future was coming, that by the year 2000 we would all be travelling through space, and I would be signing up for Starfleet.

I still really believe that if our government was more than a front for Texan and Arabian oilmen that we would be much closer to my dream than our sad reality.

FDR's idea worked back then, because everything didn't cost so much, and the expense didn't really matter that much since we (US GOV) had none anyway.

Jae Onasi
06-26-2009, 11:07 PM
Why would desalinization be an issue for Florida? They get a ton of (freshwater) rain every year.

I think all the infrastructure (railroads, schools, roads, bridges, hospitals, public works, public buildings) should be eligible. It sure beats giving a crapload of money to Chrysler so that they could move the factory in my town down to Mexico with my tax dollars.

urluckyday
06-27-2009, 12:15 AM
Hm...normally I would comment on situations like this...but I just don't think I could back my statements up well enough for anyone to even consider my opinion viable.

Web Rider
06-27-2009, 12:36 AM
I find it an example of old thinking, and I am generally pro-Obama, but he is not providing any new or original solution or line of thought with this.
You can't just "redo" the system, 4 years, even 8 years in office is not enough time to undo 200 years of infrastructure.

Repairing much of our infrastructure is condemning ourselves to more time lost in traffic jams, fighting traffic, breathing bad air.
Do away with the roads, but trailers on tracks like they are supposed to be, and let people fly around.
Wishful thinking? Sort of - the technology is really all right there. The train tracks have been waiting for years to get used again. All the concrete and blacktop is as much to blame for global warming as the next likely scapegoat.... IMO (for you data crunchers).
Trains really are only functional for long distance transportation between locations ONLY near the tracks. Trucks are required for navigating the sharp corners and tight roads to get shipments 5 miles away from the tracks. Flying cars really aren't feisable right now either.


Flying a personal aircraft was the dream I had in grade school... you can see it all over my drawings, as far back as 1977 (oh wait... that's the year ANH came out.... hmmm)
I really believed then that the future was coming, that by the year 2000 we would all be travelling through space, and I would be signing up for Starfleet.
I still really believe that if our government was more than a front for Texan and Arabian oilmen that we would be much closer to my dream than our sad reality.
The problem isn't the government. The problem is you. The problem is me. The problem is that the people are content. There's so little passion and drive to make these things reality.

FDR's idea worked back then, because everything didn't cost so much, and the expense didn't really matter that much since we (US GOV) had none anyway.
It's call inflation, it happens, but also people earned more in comparason as well. Additionally, the problem with Obama's spending as opposed to FDR's was that FDR's went to the people, it got people jobs, Obama has just saved a few big corporations, which are cutting jobs still. Either put people to work or tell them to go home. Don't dump money on people who aren't going to spend it.

Darth_Yuthura
06-27-2009, 01:06 AM
Due to recent events, I'm not going to participate with the expectation that I will persuade anyone to see things my way. I'm just going to present what I know and will not contest anyone who says different.

Question: 'Why would desalinization be an issue for Florida? They get a ton of (freshwater) rain every year.'

Florida had gotten much of its freshwater from aquifers deep underground, but as that water was pumped to the surface; saltwater was drawn in from the displacement of freshwater. In other words, as freshwater was extracted from the ground, the force of suction drew saltwater from the Gulf into those underground cavities.

Because those cavities became saturated by salt water, there was no way for rain to infiltrate the ground and recharge those aquifers. The result is that there is more runoff and, thanks to chemical insecticides and fertilizers, most of the runoff gets contaminated.

Jae Onasi
06-27-2009, 07:10 PM
Due to recent events, I'm not going to participate with the expectation that I will persuade anyone to see things my way. I'm just going to present what I know and will not contest anyone who says different.

Question: 'Why would desalinization be an issue for Florida? They get a ton of (freshwater) rain every year.'

Florida had gotten much of its freshwater from aquifers deep underground, but as that water was pumped to the surface; saltwater was drawn in from the displacement of freshwater. In other words, as freshwater was extracted from the ground, the force of suction drew saltwater from the Gulf into those underground cavities.

Because those cavities became saturated by salt water, there was no way for rain to infiltrate the ground and recharge those aquifers. The result is that there is more runoff and, thanks to chemical insecticides and fertilizers, most of the runoff gets contaminated.

Fair enough.
This isn't a field I know much about at all, so I don't have much to say on it other than that question.

Darth_Yuthura
06-28-2009, 11:28 AM
You can't just "redo" the system, 4 years, even 8 years in office is not enough time to undo 200 years of infrastructure.

The American infrastructure is very diverse and very broadly defined. Electricity, water, sewage, communications, sanitation, and transportation are coined as systems that the state depends upon to function.

However there are other components that are vitally important, but not basic necessities. A state could theoretically continue to operate if the tertiary, or public services ceased to function. Education, Military, Police, Firefighters, and other such government-operated services should be included as components of the US infrastructure, but they can take cuts without having a detrimental impact on the economy. You can cut teachers, keep old textbooks for a while longer, not replace a fire truck, let out prisoners a little earlier than usual... all these acts can be done without having a significant impact of people's way of life for the short term.

When I-35 collapsed, it was catastrophic because over 100,000 people used that bridge to commute every day and finding alternate routes disrupted their ways of life for a year after that. When a blackout hit the East coast in 2003, it was a major disaster that brought everything to a grinding halt. Without electricity, virtually everything ceased to function. Government services can be cut for a period of time without severely disrupting life, as the consequences only manifest after a long span of time.


The problem isn't the government. The problem is you. The problem is me. The problem is that the people are content. There's so little passion and drive to make these things reality.


No matter how much drive a person may have, they must take into consideration what they have to work with. Rail travel and driving suffices for our current demands, so there is no need for something that is more expensive and demands more energy than what exists today. Maybe some day when he have an excess of energy from a source that will sustain us indefinitely, then flying cars may be feasible, but that is not today. It's not that we don't have the drive, but that we should be having the drive to accomplish more urgent matters first.

Bimmerman
06-28-2009, 05:32 PM
While I fundamentally agree that the US infrastructure could use some updating and an influx of money, what gets me is that people are surprised that bridges fail, that roads crack and shatter, and that pipes burst.

Everything that is subjected to a load has a service life, and if it is a frequent on/off loading(car or truck over bridge), the thing in question will eventually fatigue itself to death. Now....this usually takes so much time as to be irrelevant when properly maintained, but there's the key phrase: "properly maintained." An entirely new infrastructure isn't needed so much as maintenance and repairs are.

Web Rider
06-28-2009, 07:18 PM
Everything that is subjected to a load has a service life, and if it is a frequent on/off loading(car or truck over bridge), the thing in question will eventually fatigue itself to death. Now....this usually takes so much time as to be irrelevant when properly maintained, but there's the key phrase: "properly maintained." An entirely new infrastructure isn't needed so much as maintenance and repairs are.

But some things simply cannot be maintained forever. Eventually parts will reach such a point that repairs will cost more than building a new one. EX: replacing oil filters is part of routine maintenance, but at some point your engine will become so worn out that repairing it or replacing it will not be worth the cost.

A local road was so bad, repaving it was as costly as rebuilding it. So instead of covering over the problem, they bulldozed the road down to the dirt, rebuilt the base ground, and are completely rebuilding the worst section of the road.

Darth_Yuthura
06-28-2009, 08:22 PM
Another problem with the American infrastructure is that the average lifespan of various structures was only 50 years. This began after WWII when the US highway network was established. It was not solely restricted to transportation, as water mains, sewer systems, and power networks were all built to meet to roughly the same standards in order to reduce the capital cost needed to extend the lifespan further.

Getting back to the inefficiencies of low population density, when you need to replace a system within a network, it costs much more to replace many pipes or cables than if you used fewer of greater capacity. In other words, if you were to use a single water main to provide water for 100,000 residents, it would cost less to build, maintain, and eventually replace than if you used five built to handle 20,000. The more complex a network is, the more expensive it is to replace these systems. And we are at a point where so many of these systems are reaching the end of their intended lifespans after having been taxed beyond their intended capacity.

Web Rider
06-28-2009, 08:34 PM
Another problem with the American infrastructure is that the average lifespan of various structures was only 50 years. This began after WWII when the US highway network was established. It was not solely restricted to transportation, as water mains, sewer systems, and power networks were all built to meet to roughly the same standards in order to reduce the capital cost needed to extend the lifespan further.
Is that a problem, or a benefit? Instead of expecting one system to last forever, a system is employed that will be replaced after a while.

Getting back to the inefficiencies of low population density, when you need to replace a system within a network, it costs much more to replace many pipes or cables than if you used fewer of greater capacity. In other words, if you were to use a single water main to provide water for 100,000 residents, it would cost less to build, maintain, and eventually replace than if you used five built to handle 20,000. The more complex a network is, the more expensive it is to replace these systems. And we are at a point where so many of these systems are reaching the end of their intended lifespans after having been taxed beyond their intended capacity.
And then we have one singular system that if it quits will leave everyone without. Instead of only a small section. We have one system, that once overtaxed, the ENTIRE system needs to be replaced, not simply small parts upgraded.

You say it's inefficient to build many smaller systems and replace them more often. I say it's inefficient to rely on one large system and risk catastrophic failure of the entire thing. It's the old adage of "don't put all your eggs in one basket." If a small section of the system fails, no problem. But if there is one hole in your giant system, everything fails.

Look at the power outages we have, entire sections of the country, on ONE network. If individual states had their own power grids, when New York goes down, it won't take Pennsylvania with it. When California needs power it won't overtax Nevada and fry them too.

Darth_Yuthura
06-28-2009, 09:10 PM
There is a term called road hierarchy. It revolves around establishing one primary road, such as a freeway, leading to a tributary road with stoplights and at least four lanes. From there you get down to two-lane streets with stop signs at each intersection before going to the stretch of road to your destination.

This works like a river system with tributary lines connecting to a more primary line. This works both for transportation, and other utilities. The problem is that you end up having so many more tributary lines and pipes branching out where you could have reduced the amount of pipe, roads, and sewers altogether. If you lived 20 miles away from where sewage is treated, it would cost more than if you were only 10 miles away.

If the problem is reliability, it would be much more viable to create alternate routes for these systems to go than the current 'hierarchy system' structure. You spread out the area that an infrastructure must cover, you end up with a more expensive grid to build and maintain.

Qui-Gon Glenn
06-29-2009, 12:56 AM
You can't just "redo" the system, 4 years, even 8 years in office is not enough time to undo 200 years of infrastructure.No, you cannot just "redo" it, at least not overnight. But it has to happen sometime, and it seems to me and many others that that time is now. Why do we need to continue to be enslaved to automobiles and all of the bad things they bring to us? I find it interesting that you are willing to pay tolls along the way for riding on the roads, as you have also paid for your car, the insurance on it, the tag and license fees and the gasoline in it.... you might be content to get hosed, but that sounds like a raw deal to me.
Trains really are only functional for long distance transportation between locations ONLY near the tracks. Trucks are required for navigating the sharp corners and tight roads to get shipments 5 miles away from the tracks.You did say that trains are good for long hauling. If they were actually maximized for this purpose currently, we could have a significant reduction of tractor trailer traffic and the stress on the infrastructure that they bring about.
Flying cars really aren't feisable (sic) right now either.Well, I've been checking out new models of them for the last 20 years in Popular Science, and it seems like the only real hold-up in their feasibility is that the paradigm is yet to shift.
The problem isn't the government. The problem is you. The problem is me. The problem is that the people are content. There's so little passion and drive to make these things reality.Speak for yourself WR, and please not for me. I speak my voice every day in RL, and am a royal pain in many asses as a result.
It's call inflation, it happens, but also people earned more in comparason as well. Additionally, the problem with Obama's spending as opposed to FDR's was that FDR's went to the people, it got people jobs, Obama has just saved a few big corporations, which are cutting jobs still. Either put people to work or tell them to go home. Don't dump money on people who aren't going to spend it.
Thanks for the definition. I had no idea :rolleyes:
I am not sure how you inferred that I was supporting any part of the bailout?

JediAthos
06-29-2009, 02:02 AM
So, qui gon...you would what, do away with cars all together? Good luck with that. As far as redoing the system...it would take years as WR stated, and be extremely costly...perhaps even more so than maintaining the current infrastructure.

As far as trains go, using rail is all well and good if there is no speed required for the freight you're shipping. I'm not saying that we can't use rail more, but rail is slower, and takes more time to ship with than trucking.

Flying cars...well, a flying car would require specialized avionics, and as part of the development you would have to teach people how to operate them which means teaching them how to fly, air traffic rules etc...flying is different than driving, it's a bit more complicated.

I'm pretty sure Web wasn't directly implicating anything about you qui gon...he was speaking of the general population not attacking or calling out anyone in particular. I'm sure he doesn't need me to defend him, but the point exists nonetheless.

Web Rider
06-29-2009, 03:31 AM
No, you cannot just "redo" it, at least not overnight. But it has to happen sometime, and it seems to me and many others that that time is now. Why do we need to continue to be enslaved to automobiles and all of the bad things they bring to us? I find it interesting that you are willing to pay tolls along the way for riding on the roads, as you have also paid for your car, the insurance on it, the tag and license fees and the gasoline in it.... you might be content to get hosed, but that sounds like a raw deal to me.
Unless you can figure out a way to build everything in walking distance ala Darth Yuthura's ideals, we're a big country, and we need cars to get around it. And the "bad" they bring us is what, specifically?
The tolls are for a private company to maintain the road in tip-top shape. Yes, I could drive on B or C grade roads, but I'm willing to pay some change to drive on A++ roads.
My car was older and not that expensive. People are stupid when it comes to buying a car, and few bother to look for good deals.
Fees are minimal, including insurnace, I probably pay 500 a year in fees. Gas, maybe $60 a month because I don't drive a lot.

You'd have to pay for fees, maintence, liscenes, for your flying cars too.


You did say that trains are good for long hauling. If they were actually maximized for this purpose currently, we could have a significant reduction of tractor trailer traffic and the stress on the infrastructure that they bring about.
Yes, our rail system could certainly be improved.

Well, I've been checking out new models of them for the last 20 years in Popular Science, and it seems like the only real hold-up in their feasibility is that the paradigm is yet to shift.
Links please, I'd like to see these.

Speak for yourself WR, and please not for me. I speak my voice every day in RL, and am a royal pain in many asses as a result.
Well, criticizing is fine and all, but I've yet to see any specifics of how to shift those paradigms.

Thanks for the definition. I had no idea :rolleyes:
I am not sure how you inferred that I was supporting any part of the bailout?
I wasn't, I was saying your stimulate the economy by employing people, not saving big companies.

Darth Avlectus
06-29-2009, 04:43 AM
No, you cannot just "redo" it, at least not overnight. But it has to happen sometime, and it seems to me and many others that that time is now.

Now, where have I heard this before? :roleyess: Oh, right--all that talk about "change".

Why do we need to continue to be enslaved to automobiles and all of the bad things they bring to us? I find it interesting that you are willing to pay tolls along the way for riding on the roads, as you have also paid for your car, the insurance on it, the tag and license fees and the gasoline in it.... you might be content to get hosed, but that sounds like a raw deal to me.
Sounds to me like you're basing the entirety of the road system of America on bridges in coastal cities. While your sentiments are noted and the toll bit does in fact exist as there is a mass of population in those areas, it isn't indicative of the whole picture. Most of the country I have ever been in does not require you to pay a toll. Tell me the last time wide open areas in states like Texas, Missouri, or Nevada required you to pay a toll?

While some areas inland are catching on, frankly, it won't reach a point where you need to spend $5 each time to go anywhere in your car (on top of gas, upkeep, insurance and registration). It could, but long before that there would be some kind of mass uproar. Such a scenario would require things w.r.t senatorial power to have gotten *so* much more imbalanced than it already is.

You did say that trains are good for long hauling. If they were actually maximized for this purpose currently, we could have a significant reduction of tractor trailer traffic and the stress on the infrastructure that they bring about.
Well, I've been checking out new models of them for the last 20 years in Popular Science, and it seems like the only real hold-up in their feasibility is that the paradigm is yet to shift.

Paradigm is yet to shift? I'm sorry but you'll have to elaborate. Do you mean that people have yet to accept this on a larger scale? Think there might be a bit more to it than just convincing people? I'm sure there are some things the magazine's research has left out or omitted.

While Popsci does carry a ton of interesting science (I once subscribed), I have observed that, like all monthly magazines, it focuses a bit on what seems most fashionable to their readers. A tad sensational rather than practical. Not necessarily the real shebang; the truth and facts alone are too boring to generate personal interest of the masses. How better to grab that than reporting on what is in vogue to a certain portion? It is ultimately a business of its own, after all.

Point being: You want some real answers? Go to your nearest college/Uni and ask a professor of Civil Engineering, and while we're at it Economics for a little more in depth analysis on that with some thoroughly verified information. Then get back to me.


My layman's view: I am inclined on the one hand to agree with you that trains should be more fully utilized in many areas of the country and that there are numerous benefits to be gained.
On the other, I know that certain states still use mass transit to its full extent. Which still doesn't come close to meeting the demand of the population. The whole idea about the auto was that it was expedited travel and freedom in areas where rails are too cumbersome to be practical.

What is more is that, like a river scheme, it is largely centralized. People spread out are not going to be near enough to the mass transit systems for it to be "worth it" for them to use. Sure it works out in SimCity(tm), but that's just a simulation (with all due respect of course). What it does not cover is that in itself presents a whole set of issues with taxation and people are not going to fund creation/expansion something massive and central that doesn't even come near them physically, nor significantly benefit them, practically, in the completed plans.

It is not a simple matter of "just conforming to the train schedule". It is not just some hicks in the booneys, or rich people in rural areas that will complain if you take out the roads to replace it all with railing and bicycle trails. Nor will those complaints necessarily be for frivolous leisure. Just something to remember as you go off on how great this change towards mass transit is going to be.

Most people can see the positives, if you ask them; yet you'll find they
1) see it as being too uneconomical for much the same reasons I said above
2) you're arguing against a certain freedom of both travel movement and market (please don't dodge this by getting phillisophical on the semantics of "free" or "freedom")

Speak for yourself WR, and please not for me. I speak my voice every day in RL, and am a royal pain in many asses as a result.
[Acknowledgement]: More power to you--freedom of speech and I'll defend your right to it even if I disagree intensely with what you're saying. Freedom of speech is an inalienable right to meatb--I mean Humanoids.[/HK-47]

He was pointing out in a general sense that most people are just not going to go for that. ...You obviously are an exception. Yes, such things *will* take time. What you seem to miss is that such things will also require necessity and discontent with status quo for reasons relating to such necessity.

<Track Back>
Flying a personal aircraft was the dream I had in grade school... you can see it all over my drawings, as far back as 1977 (oh wait... that's the year ANH came out.... hmmm)
I really believed then that the future was coming, that by the year 2000 we would all be travelling through space, and I would be signing up for Starfleet.
I still really believe that if our government was more than a front for Texan and Arabian oilmen that we would be much closer to my dream than our sad reality.


So then, what are you saying? That we ought to be flying hovercraft by now? Sure I'd go for that. Unfortunately the laws of physics haven't been repealed to allow for that hover board on back to the future. But I'd definitely go for that.

As for government, well, we're about to get a whole bunch more of it. And no, I don't believe it will be a changed government which cuts out the "fatty pork". Ultimately because of human nature. (Could Web Rider have been also alluding to this I wonder? :raise:)

Paint me cynical, but I prefer to be a realist. Or that government really represents the people in its majority. The 2 party system is really just 2 sides of the same coin to me.

I do see it implementing more environmentalist based legislation for laws. Not sure what good it will do in the big picture; Will the actions taken to supposedly do the planet good will truly be good enough to be worth all these new laws and rules on how we live?

Like it or not, that is the inevitable conclusion of the environmental sentiments. They will become laws and controls which may not necessarily serve their initially intended purpose effectively, if at all. Not saying at all that I want the forests cut down--quite opposite. I just don't really see "Carbon Footprinting" as really being able to accomplish that, or to make a significant difference other than now charging and additional fortune just to live.

The problems are people, and reality itself.

Bimmerman
06-29-2009, 05:03 AM
But some things simply cannot be maintained forever. Eventually parts will reach such a point that repairs will cost more than building a new one. EX: replacing oil filters is part of routine maintenance, but at some point your engine will become so worn out that repairing it or replacing it will not be worth the cost.

A local road was so bad, repaving it was as costly as rebuilding it. So instead of covering over the problem, they bulldozed the road down to the dirt, rebuilt the base ground, and are completely rebuilding the worst section of the road.

Agreed, but I'd consider that part of maintenance. Replacing what makes no fiscal sense to repair is part of maintenance, no?

Darth_Yuthura
06-29-2009, 03:28 PM
Agreed, but I'd consider that part of maintenance. Replacing what makes no fiscal sense to repair is part of maintenance, no?

I wouldn't agree with that. Maintenance involves keeping something up to code after it has been built. Replacing means tearing something down and building something to take its place. Despite what may be said about costing more to keep a system operating than replacing it is literally wrong.

If you were comparing the cost of upkeep for an old bridge to the price of a new one, it would be astronomically smaller. Most would rather not have to choke up a huge sum of money to build a new bridge when the one they have works well enough. The upkeep for a new bridge would be smaller than that of an old one, but one must come up with the funding to build the new one first. (some bridges are in the billions) And when you have a funding deficit, you can't exactly afford to take on another giant project that isn't a necessity. You can use a bridge past its lifespan if you are willing to pay extra for keeping it up. Only in the long run would a new bridge make financial sense, but people need short-term benefits in today's economy to survive.

I understand the economic benefits to building a new bridge that is designed to be less expensive to maintain, but often these kind of expenditures are not made until the funding for such massive projects are available or an old bridge is expected to collapse at any time.

JediAthos
06-30-2009, 02:30 PM
I was watching a program on the Autobahn on the history channel today. I wonder if our highway system went to a similar model if it wouldn't be as costly to maintain. The Germans seem to do a fantastic job maintaining the Autobahn based on what I saw on the documentary.

Web Rider
06-30-2009, 04:50 PM
I was watching a program on the Autobahn on the history channel today. I wonder if our highway system went to a similar model if it wouldn't be as costly to maintain. The Germans seem to do a fantastic job maintaining the Autobahn based on what I saw on the documentary.

The Germans also have drastically higher corporate and individual taxes.

Agreed, but I'd consider that part of maintenance. Replacing what makes no fiscal sense to repair is part of maintenance, no?
Maintenance of the entire system perhaps, but not of the individual structure. If you tear a bridge down and put up a new one, that's not maintenance of that bridge.

Darth Avlectus
06-30-2009, 07:58 PM
The Germans also have drastically higher corporate and individual taxes.
Ouch!

Maintenance of the entire system perhaps, but not of the individual structure. If you tear a bridge down and put up a new one, that's not maintenance of that bridge.

Well...if it simply isn't feasible to repair, nixing and replacing would make sense, at least I'd think it would...just saying. But true, if you want to get technical, no replacement is not maintenance of the bridge. But taking care of the bridge area might be seen as maintenance for the town or city on a broader scheme. At least that's what I got from Bimmerman's statements.

Either case, it is what it is.

Darth_Yuthura
06-30-2009, 09:33 PM
To put it short: A significant number of systems within the US infrastructure are failing because there is not enough money generated from taxes to keep them up to code. The moment you speak of raising taxes, you start getting protests; but they are necessary in order to keep the state operating.

There is another solution to raising taxes to such an extreme level, but it's already been heard and rejected... higher population density. When you share utilities, you reduce costs per capita. When you have more people living in a smaller area, you can increase the efficiency of public services as well. By having a smaller urban footprint, you have fewer pipes, power lines, roads, sewers. Having more people in a smaller area allows for less money to be spent of squad cars, school buses, garbage trucks, and a greater proportion of tax money to be spent on maintaining a smaller urban footprint. (I won't comment any further, as it has already been addressed elsewhere)

Trench
06-30-2009, 09:51 PM
To put it short: A significant number of systems within the US infrastructure are failing because there is not enough money generated from taxes to keep them up to code. The moment you speak of raising taxes, you start getting protests; but they are necessary in order to keep the state operating.

Well if you'd ever visited my neck of the country, you'd disagree. Taxes out here are murder, especially when you live on more than a couple of acres like myself, and pretty much everyone out here does. Lets see how you feel when taxes are threatening to force you out of your home.

JediAthos
06-30-2009, 10:01 PM
To put it short: A significant number of systems within the US infrastructure are failing because there is not enough money generated from taxes to keep them up to code. The moment you speak of raising taxes, you start getting protests; but they are necessary in order to keep the state operating.

There is another solution to raising taxes to such an extreme level, but it's already been heard and rejected... higher population density. When you share utilities, you reduce costs per capita. When you have more people living in a smaller area, you can increase the efficiency of public services as well. By having a smaller urban footprint, you have fewer pipes, power lines, roads, sewers. Having more people in a smaller area allows for less money to be spent of squad cars, school buses, garbage trucks, and a greater proportion of tax money to be spent on maintaining a smaller urban footprint. (I won't comment any further, as it has already been addressed elsewhere)


Yes, yes, we've been there discussed that...but for the sake of the thread that goes back to redoing the system, undoing over 200 years of infrastructure, abolishing whole towns, small cities etc...to move people into a smaller area. Perhaps any new communities could be based on such ideas, but attempting to redo the current system to conform to such ideals is impractical and is probably not going to happen.

Jae Onasi
06-30-2009, 10:08 PM
A significant number of systems within the US infrastructure are failing because there is not enough money generated from taxes to keep them up to code.Well, to be fair, 'the code' has gotten stricter with time as engineering advances have occurred. What is considered 'failing code' now may not have been failing 10 years ago when the code was different.

Darth_Yuthura
06-30-2009, 11:12 PM
Well, to be fair, 'the code' has gotten stricter with time as engineering advances have occurred. What is considered 'failing code' now may not have been failing 10 years ago when the code was different.

That likely applies to new construction, but anything old will only become more dilapidated and likely to collapse than it was forty years ago. There are a few exceptions, but the majority of systems that haven't been renovated will only be more likely to fail than when they were new.

Well if you'd ever visited my neck of the country, you'd disagree. Taxes out here are murder, especially when you live on more than a couple of acres like myself, and pretty much everyone out here does. Lets see how you feel when taxes are threatening to force you out of your home.

I don't know what you were getting at with this, but if taxes are exceptionally high where you are and the roads are just as shabby, then clearly there is not enough tax money to provide for the existing infrastructure. Otherwise your tax dollars are being siphoned elsewhere.

Web Rider
07-01-2009, 12:22 AM
That likely applies to new construction, but anything old will only become more dilapidated and likely to collapse than it was forty years ago. There are a few exceptions, but the majority of systems that haven't been renovated will only be more likely to fail than when they were new.
Changes in code apply to all public structures. See above for my mention of a local dam. The change in codes made the dam fall into the "immediate danger" zone, but nothing had fundamentally changed about the dam. However, any repairs made to it must be made to current code standards, not 1959 standards.



I don't know what you were getting at with this, but if taxes are exceptionally high where you are and the roads are just as shabby, then clearly there is not enough tax money to provide for the existing infrastructure. Otherwise your tax dollars are being siphoned elsewhere.
Where property taxes go depend on the State in question. They don't generally go to road maintainence, that generally comes from registration costs.

Darth_Yuthura
07-01-2009, 06:41 AM
Where property taxes go depend on the State in question. They don't generally go to road maintainence, that generally comes from registration costs.

The point was that maintaining an infrastructure of pipelines, roads, power lines, rail networks, and public services is expensive. It gets more expensive the wider it has to stretch, or in some cases the higher into the sky you reach. This funding has to come from somewhere and many people don't realize that high taxes are the result of the resources you need to keep everything operating. Unless federal money is being squandered elsewhere, higher taxes come with more expensive upkeep costs. Lower taxes often result in a detraction from the quality of the education system, police coverage, and fire departments.

Also if the standards for transportation and utilities is increasing as time progresses... 'updating the code' makes it even more expensive to plan out and construct new systems. This is another cost that has to be taken into consideration. Some already existing systems (Such as the Boston Freeway) have to be replaced because they have exceeded their original capacity and couldn't simply be expanded. It makes no sense to destroy something that works fine enough just because it couldn't handle anticipated future capacity.

This was a very general statement, so I will elaborate if another has an objection to it.

Bimmerman
07-01-2009, 07:17 AM
With respect, it doesn't sound like you know a whole lot about property, income, gas, and other taxes. The gas tax is the chief contributor to infrastructure funding. Try and raise that and the public at large will basically crucify any politician who advocates for it.

As for high tax areas with poor roads.....this happens way more often than you'd think. Raising taxes more is not the answer. There is a very real threat of being punitively taxed to the point of losing your home, and therefore taxes should be...raised? I don't understand that line of thought at all.

The reason the US infrastructure isn't fantastic is that it is not the federal government's responsibilty to keep it that way, nor is it the state government's. It is the onus of each community to take care of their municipal infrastructure, with the county taking care of regional highways and associated bits. Raising taxes is never the answer, cutting useless spending elsewhere or re-prioritizing is.

And please, no more talk of condensing people in smaller areas. That logic didn't fly in the suburban thread, and it got closed when you refused to listen to what people were saying (as well as blatantly making things up). The benefit of reduced infrastructure extent is absolutely minimized or even negated due to the increased number of travelers and users. That puts a much greater strain on the roadways, bridges, pipes, etc-- enough to make it about equal in maintenance cost for inner city vs suburban/rural. Thus...it doesn't matter where people live, and we don't need to keep hearing rehashed arguments for it.

Darth_Yuthura
07-01-2009, 09:59 AM
The reason the US infrastructure isn't fantastic is that it is not the federal government's responsibilty to keep it that way, nor is it the state government's. It is the onus of each community to take care of their municipal infrastructure, with the county taking care of regional highways and associated bits. Raising taxes is never the answer, cutting useless spending elsewhere or re-prioritizing is.

What 'useless' spending are you referring to?

JediAthos
07-01-2009, 10:08 AM
Useless spending...the U.S. government is famous for it...pork barrel projects, pet projects, things that could wait but get attached to important legislation by representatives so they can accomplish their personal goals. It happens at all levels of government in the U.S.

Darth_Yuthura
07-01-2009, 10:13 AM
I was hoping for something more specific. And I was really asking for where municipal level resources are squandered, not federal funding.

Web Rider
07-01-2009, 12:37 PM
Wasn't referring to property taxes.

Yes, however the person you were responding to stated that they had higher taxes for more property, that's property taxes.

Darth_Yuthura
07-01-2009, 01:57 PM
Alright. Property taxes don't correlate to what it costs to keep a piece of property linked to a road, provided sanitation service, or to be hooked up to the water works. Often you have development that costs more to upkeep than is yielded from property taxes.

http://www.populareconomics.com/documents/FF/FF12-19-05.pdf

A short reading: popular economics

Example: Prince William County Virginia has among the highest property tax rates around Metropolitan DC, yet it loses an average of $1,200 per house each year providing for the services.

Here are sites directed at the impacts of sprawl on local services by providing subsidies for many pieces of property in suburban areas. If it costs more to maintain a house than it returns from taxes, then where's the funding going to come from?

http://www.iit.edu/~karagian/smart01/

This shows the effects of overextending utilities and highways cositng more and becoming more difficult to maintain in the suburbs of Chicago than those in the inner city. The infrastructure of the downtown does cost more than any other location in the metropolitan area, but that is taking into consideration that many of the systems, transportation especially, have to not only handle its own demands, but act as a hub for the rest of the city.

So maybe it would be better to say that the further away from any system hub you get, the more costly it is to maintain links. It doesn't mean you HAVE to densify; you just should be willing to pay for your own links and not be subsidized for any less than what it takes to maintain those links.

You either pay additional taxes, iron out the inefficiencies of the links you have, or those links will fail when they don't get the funding they need to be maintained properly.

http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm2003/03october/october03corp1.html
http://www.uwm.edu/~frankn/Sprawl_Frank.htm
http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=2686

JediAthos
07-01-2009, 02:01 PM
I was hoping for something more specific. And I was really asking for where municipal level resources are squandered, not federal funding.

I did some googling and found a lot of accusations of municipal waste...stadiums paid for with tax money etc...but one thing to keep in mind is that many state roads are subsidized by federal funding and city roads are subsidized by state funding etc....

Web Rider
07-01-2009, 06:58 PM
Alright. Property taxes don't correlate to what it costs to keep a piece of property linked to a road, provided sanitation service, or to be hooked up to the water works. Often you have development that costs more to upkeep than is yielded from property taxes.

Of course not, because that's not how property taxes are done. Even if I have my own wells, my own septic, and my own power, I could still pay more property tax than my neighbor who is connected to the system because I have more land. The value of the land is the basis for property tax. Land value is based on the real estate market. Hence folks in Beverly Hills can still pay more, even living in a denser area and using more utilities, than me in the boonies.

Darth_Yuthura
07-01-2009, 08:33 PM
The value of the land is the basis for property tax. Land value is based on the real estate market. Hence folks in Beverly Hills can still pay more, even living in a denser area and using more utilities, than me in the boonies.

Exactly. So if one could set property taxes based on land value alone, it would only be a matter of time before you end up with an ever more expensive infrastructure and no way to pay for it. Don't forget that property taxes are the primary source of funding for municipal sanitation, police upkeep, education, fire department, and provision of public spaces. Without a regulated source of sustainable income, it was only a matter of time before you have more upkeep costs than you have income.

Portland overcame this to a large extent because it planned its future development to ensure it would maintain sustainable development. Another major obstacle with property taxes involves anticipated urban expansion raising the price of vacant land more than it normally would sell for; but there are often times when the consequences of this leads to poor urban planning, based on increasing the value of land the most and disregarding how it would keep its value after being built.

Some communities are now full of empty-nesters, where education demands are not so high anymore. Many suburbs of the early 50's are becoming dilapidated because the houses were so cheaply built. As these 'ghetto' zones (as one person called them) undergo gentrification, you will start to get a much more desirable and sustainable urban development than what originally was built.

Jae Onasi
07-01-2009, 09:13 PM
If you spend more than you take in as a local gov''t, you go broke. What towns do is just raise taxes--property taxes or county sales taxes, or find some other source of revenue. The other alternative is to cut services. They don't get to run a deficit to the degree California, Illinois, or the US do.

Darth_Yuthura
07-02-2009, 02:13 PM
And please, no more talk of condensing people in smaller areas. That logic didn't fly in the suburban thread, and it got closed when you refused to listen to what people were saying (as well as blatantly making things up). The benefit of reduced infrastructure extent is absolutely minimized or even negated due to the increased number of travelers and users. That puts a much greater strain on the roadways, bridges, pipes, etc-- enough to make it about equal in maintenance cost for inner city vs suburban/rural. Thus...it doesn't matter where people live, and we don't need to keep hearing rehashed arguments for it.

With all due respect, I think you are wrong.

The flaw in the suburban debate was preference: the majority of Americans wanted privacy. That however did not counter my logic that a city with a smaller urban footprint was more efficient and easier to maintain.

With population density, you can reduce the distance that people and resources have to travel to reach their destinations. If you have a city with the same population as Atlanta, but its urban footprint is just 15 miles from the CBD to the outermost boarder, there will be less wear per capita upon the roads than Atlanta. In Atlanta, many people drive over 40 miles per day. That represents much more wear exerted upon roads and bridges overall than the first city. There are more roads in Atlanta, yes; but that also means more roads that have to be paid for as well. This cannot possibly compare to the first city.

You also made a mistake: not 'more travelers,' 'more traffic.' There is a difference. Having more people in a smaller area would mean more cars on fewer roads at any one time, but the number of travelers would not change one way or another.

You do have a point that there would be more traffic operating on fewer roads, but because the driving distance would be reduced, so would be the wear placed upon the roads. To counter this, mass transit could, and often is demanded for a city like this to function. In addition to this, it is better to have roads used more to their fullest capacity than not. Open roads represent wasted time, space, and money; but replacing them more frequently is better than doing it less frequently for less-used streets. The problem often comes not with replacing the roads themselves, but when you have fractured concrete that constantly needs to be patched. It's better to minimize the times that has to be done, so it's better to have roads to their maximum capacity more often than not. (I don't mean congested though)

The same thing goes with utilities. If you have to supply water to a suburb ten miles away, you have to ensure that pipelines not only can handle the local demands, but they must also be able to handle the demands of everything leading to that suburb. If you theoretically moved that suburb five miles closer, that’s five miles’ less pipe than you needed before. And then that's less to have to maintain. To provide for additional demand, you can upgrade the pipe and capacity increases at a greater rate than price and maintenance.

Sewers are more effective when they are much wider and with thicker walls, so it makes more sense to build larger sewers for denser communities than those that are less than 2 meters in diameter and dispersed in some cities.

Jae Onasi
07-02-2009, 02:56 PM
That's assuming that you have to build the infrastructure from the center of the city to the suburbs, and that's not always the case. My town could arguably be called a suburb, but it has its own coal burning power plant and doesn't depend on the Chicago or Milwaukee grids. It has its own water treatment plants so it doesn't depend on the sewers of either of those major cities either.

Also, it doesn't matter how closely packed you have everything. If you have thousands of cars going over a bridge every hour of every day of every year, whether or not it's in the city or suburbs, it's going to need maintenance. Good luck doing construction on the interstates in the middle of Chicago. I've driven on the Dan Ryan expressway while it was undergoing its major reconstruction work, and on the Edens as well. The amount of traffic disruption and increases in travel times were staggering, because there was no other place to put all the people when they were already squashed together. The side streets and arteries couldn't handle the same traffic, and even with the increase number of public transportation routes added in the area (more buses and L-trains), they couldn't keep up. The travel times were still astounding. In rural or suburban areas, there's room to shift people over to other roads without so much disruption.

Please define 'many suburbs of the '50's are becoming dilapidated'. Do you have numbers to support this? Don't you think that a lot of that has to do with owners taking care of their property?

I grew up in a house that was built in the 50's. I pass by it on a regular basis and it still looks great, as does the rest of the neighborhood around it. My home was built in '29, and the houses around it and in our neighborhood are being well maintained. Even the homes in the more 'inner city' part of our town are fine so long as the owners maintain them properly, and they're over 100 years old. It all depends on how people take care of their homes.

Darth_Yuthura
07-06-2009, 12:59 PM
Good luck doing construction on the interstates in the middle of Chicago. I've driven on the Dan Ryan expressway while it was undergoing its major reconstruction work, and on the Edens as well. The amount of traffic disruption and increases in travel times were staggering, because there was no other place to put all the people when they were already squashed together. The side streets and arteries couldn't handle the same traffic, and even with the increase number of public transportation routes added in the area (more buses and L-trains), they couldn't keep up. The travel times were still astounding. In rural or suburban areas, there's room to shift people over to other roads without so much disruption.

The problem you speak of is in regards to alternate routes. It can be, and often is, just as bad in rural areas as in urban landscapes. The problem I have with freeways is that they can only deposit and receive traffic at certain choke points. If you were to have an accident that blocked a freeway in one direction, it would essentially not permit an alternate route unless you were to reach the next choke point (onramp) take back roads, bypass the jam, and get back on the next onramp to resume the flow.

I have an instance where a critical juncture in a rural area was severed due to repairs. Because I was entering Madison from a rural location, the only route I had to reaching my specific destination involved going an additional five miles through urban landscape when I normally would only have gone through just one. The problem with this location for me that it is on the opposite side of, but not connected to a major interstate and that road was the only place within 4 miles that provided a path to the opposite side of that interstate.

My home was built in '29, and the houses around it and in our neighborhood are being well maintained. Even the homes in the more 'inner city' part of our town are fine so long as the owners maintain them properly, and they're over 100 years old. It all depends on how people take care of their homes.

So if your old home was built before WWII, then I am not surprised it's in pristine condition. Such neighborhoods were not mass produced and are likely to be in better shape than those that are only 40 years old. It has to do with how well-built a neighborhood was and what resources were used in the first place. If you want to use cheaper materials, then you should prepare to replace it more often; most haven't.

Darth_Yuthura
07-18-2009, 09:54 PM
I've just been in Madison, WI and observing the university taking down some old structures from the 1950's and 60's, but leaving up many that are much older than that. How does that make sense?

Well when I began to look at some of the buildings that are ready to be demolished and compared them to some of the older halls that are expected to remain for decades to come, I realized that even the architecture of post WWII buildings are based on cheap and easy designs. The infrastructure problem isn't limited solely to cheap and easy city-wide design, but it goes right down to building principles that had altered during the post WWII decades.

This isn't just an issue limited to UW Madison, as I've seen the same thing in a number of other universities... cheap buildings constructed about 50 years ago showing their age while the majority of the more historic buildings lasting decades longer before they are to be replaced. I've seen buildings closing on a hundred years old being replaced AFTER those that have only been constructed much more recently. And these are not all historic sites, although some are; so that wouldn't explain why so many obsolete buildings are not replaced first.

Is this just me, or do others notice this tendency to replace newer, cheaper things more often than they do with ancient structures? If they weren't built to last, it would give some indication as to whether or not they were worth the effort to build them so cheap in the first place.

Darth Avlectus
07-24-2009, 12:50 AM
If you spend more than you take in as a local gov''t, you go broke. What towns do is just raise taxes--property taxes or county sales taxes, or find some other source of revenue. The other alternative is to cut services. They don't get to run a deficit to the degree California, Illinois, or the US do.

I can vouch, I'm a CA resident. ;P

Yeah, lots of stuff is going to get cut and taxes are going to skyrocket now that we have to face the music, and that Ahnuld is refusing funds. I don't care what anyone says to the contrary. Every time Dems are in office in DC, we see taxes rise in CA. Of course the way we voted was to cut a ton of spending.

> A friend of mine works Parks and Rec for the state in my town; she will have to move and find a new job when her contract ends because they only have enough $ to pay her for this summer (contractual remainder).

> Road work is for $#%^ here in CA in the more rural areas. 'Round the city it's ...decent if slow. I have a theory that it sucks more money than it has to because it takes longer than it should and it (compared to NV right next door who is immaculate) sucks, quality wise. Mediocre at least. I think they intentionally do it just well enough to get by this year but will require work next year--year after year. Sure the traffic has increased despite people moving away to cheaper areas, but that is so for both CA and NV. You can drive Hwy 50 or any number of roads relatively near it and see a noticeable difference. (EDIT: At least the NV side has it together!!!)

One hand, I'm obviously :swear: about it, the other I see it is slowing tourist traffic enough to encourage business. Still doesn't change the fact that places are going vacant and jobs are leaving, but it does help. Weird way of doing things, CA. Still wanna bean the 5 supervisors with a bottle, standing and chatting while 2 workers are working. :¬: Your Tax Dollars, at work.

> Neighborhood watch around my neck of the woods is worried about its continuing presence reportedly b/c both its resources and volunteers are dwindling.

> SSI offices are now turning away people.

> Prices for infractions and violations are rising sharply in both CA and NV. (I would know b/c I just got my first one). Notably speed limits are changed in strategic locations for "trapping".

> The jerkish bistate committee for property and land regulations (or regional planning agency) has decided to have a conniption fit since their funding is all gone and is up with the governing officials making all sorts of noise for harsher laws and steeper fines. :¬:

> Funds for higher education are being cut. Bummer. Then again, only the NV side seems to have a pattern of students who move on to better things from the community colleges. However Universities all around seem to be doing fine, if now a much more out of reach prospect for everyone. :(

For lower education--they always seem to have their hands out and little to show for it. :carms:
Of course what they don't tell you when they bring up falling literacy and reading rates in english for kids is that an increasing number of children attending are learning English as a second language--if they are even learning English at all.

> Many of the services for cleaning and maintenance around the town are going a-bye-bye or at least into hibernation.

> The local bi-state committee or "regional planning agency" in the town next to me are having conniption fits b/c funding is running out and are up at the city council every time it holds a session. Raising a stink about new regulations and local laws, and increasing fines. Too bad their credibility is at an all time low...for them! :dev11:

Darth_Yuthura
07-24-2009, 02:11 AM
Thank-you for posting about the problems you encounter. California represents about 10% of the US population, so it's only fair to have them share their side of things.

I've often made an issue out of organizing cities around transportation, but there is a lot more to it than that. With a reduction of roads comes a wide variety of savings in regard to services and utilities. One professor of mine gave a projection of what he expects to see as funds dry up all over the US as they are in California. He believes that there will most likely be sparsely populated areas abandoned in favor of keeping the beating heart of inner cities operating. A pipeline serving only a thousand people will likely be cut from maintenance in favor of providing for the upkeep of a more important one. Although they likely would not wish to fall behind in maintenance, budget planners simply cannot expect to keep every road, rail, sewer, phone line, fiber optic cable, water main, and power line in top shape because there are so many providing to a comparatively few.

Although you may need more expensive sewers within downtown Chicago vs. areas with much lower population density, it is far easier and cheaper per capita to maintain. The Sears Tower only pays a fraction the cost for water and sewers than a city of comparable size (Sun Prairie, WI Pop. 21,000) Yes, the tower doesn't have Residents, but the demand for these utilities is fairly comparable.

If you ended up in a situation where you only had enough funding to provide for a third of the sewers you have, the Sears Tower would be the most logical place for such funding because they service so many more people. Compare that to investing the same funding to provide for only 1/3 of Sun Prairie's systems. (They are replacing the roads and installing new sewers at this time, so that is why I brought it up specifically)