Friday, January 30, 2015

The Perennial Myth Of Crumbling Infrastructure

As a follow up to my post, Paging Water Block: Rand Paul and Barbara Boxer Announce the 'Invest in Transportation Act', a friend points me to a David Stockman column, The Madison County Bridges In Nowhere And The Perennial Myth Of Crumbling Infrastructure.

A careful reading on Stockman's column, who I hasten to add was head of the Office of Management and Budget for part of the Reagan presidency, shows that it smacks Rand Paul directly in the head with his contention that:
All across the country, bridges and roads are deficient and in need of replacement...Addressing this shortfall with a viable and bipartisan transportation funding solution would have a real economic impact across the country, providing funding stability for state and local governments and businesses that rely on federal transportation funding, and helping to create or save millions of jobs.

Stockman writes:
 Whenever the beltway bandits run low on excuses to run-up the national debt they trot out florid tales of crumbling infrastructure—that is, dilapidated roads, collapsing bridges, failing water and sewer systems, inadequate rail and public transit and the rest...most especially it presents a  swell opportunity for Washington to create millions of “jobs”...Except that the evidence for dilapidated infrastructure is just bogus beltway propaganda cynically peddled by the construction and builder lobbies. Moreover, the infrastructure that actually does qualify for self-liquidating investment is overwhelmingly local in nature—-urban highways, metropolitan water and sewer systems, airports. These should be funded by users fees and levies on local taxpayers—not financed with Washington issued bonds and pork-barreled through its wasteful labyrinth of earmarks and plunder.

Nowhere is the stark distinction between the crumbling infrastructure myth and the factual reality more evident than in the case of the so-called deficient and obsolete bridges. To hear the K-Street lobbies tell it—-motorist all across American are at risk for plunging into the drink at any time owing to defective bridges...

One thing is clear. The is no case for adding to our staggering $17 trillion national debt in order to replace the bridges of Madison county; or to fix state and local highways or build white elephant high speed rail systems; or to relieve air travelers of paying user fees to upgrade local airports or local taxpayers of their obligation to pay fees and taxes to maintain their water and sewer systems.

At the end of the day, the ballyhooed national infrastructure crisis is a beltway racket of the first order. It has been for decades.


  1. I've seen the dilapidation so I know it exists or in some cases existed. The con as I see it from Illinois is that they spend the road money on other things until the roads and bridges start crumbling and then they go on tour for more money for the roads. Because people are willing to pay for that, but not what they actually spend the money on.

    1. "The con as I see it from Illinois is that they spend the road money on other things until the roads and bridges start crumbling and then they go on tour for more money for the roads. "

      That exact thing is going on here in SC. The SCDOT has become a giant slush fund and the roads have suffered mightily and now they want more money(they can even produce an audit showing where the money they get goes) and are using the sad state of roads here to justify more money while pretending they money the receive is dedicated to roads.

    2. edit:

      *can't even produce
      *the money they

  2. Stockman should run for president.
    he has enough right wing credentials to not be ignored by the republican leaning media and imo he could fill the gap Ron Paul has left much better than Rand

  3. Speaking of infrastructure, what ever happened to that one trillion dollar stimulus money from 2009, that was supposed to go to infrastructure?

    You'd think every road in the US would be paved with gold by now.