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Do what is necessary

(sorry, this is rather incoherent)

I am bothered most by our failure to do what is necessary. Why does the United States spend just .93% of our GDP on infrastructure? According to the Strib, China spends 9%, Japan – 10%, India – 3.5%.

Why hasn’t the gas tax been raised in accordance with inflation?

Also from the Strib:

The inflation-adjusted purchasing power of the federal gas tax (18.4 cents per gallon) is less than half of what it was in the 1960s, and dropping. Hard-pressed state and local budgets are bearing an increasing share of the roadway maintenance load.

Do we need to do a better job of teaching everyone about debt and revenue? Pay now or pay later, we’re going to have to pay for things. This from a Letter to the Editor in the NY Times:

A 1989 study, which I commissioned for New York City’s transportation department, concluded that the city’s 840 bridges could be maintained in near pristine condition for $150 million annually. At the time, instead of conducting routine maintenance, we were spending $400 million a year to replace parts and even whole bridges.

Why haven’t we made necessary investments in transit? Ask yourselves this, transit opponents: What is a common feature of every major metropolitan city in the world? Reliable, safe, and efficient mass transit. Why is Minnesota struggling to fund transit initiatives while Denver is able to raise $1.8 billion dollars for transit?

Why are we spending tons of money on the 35W/62 reconstruction, and not including light rail? If you remember, it was a struggle to get the funding passed in the first place because Pawlenty didn’t want to pay for it.

Where’s the plan? Where’s the vision? Where’s the funding?

Do people outside the metro (or in the outer suburbs, even) realize that their objection to transit improvements affects them as well, whether or not they ride it? More people on transit means less people on roads and bridges.

I’d like to propose toll roads on every major highway in the state. And a gas tax increase. And whatever else is necessary to fund these services. Stop acting like you don’t need to pay for things. If Minnesota expects to be a place that attracts families and jobs and companies, spend what is necessary. If we value education, pay for it. If we want to be able to get around, we have to pay for it.

I don’t have the answers here. I wish I did. Actually, I wish our elected officials did. I wish we weren’t so anti-tax and anti-government. I don’t understand how privatization is the answer. I don’t even know what question you are asking when privatizing roads and transit is the answer. Maybe the question is, “What’s a really bad way to run public services? Privatization.”

Whew. The next post will be better. I promise.

Categories: Random Thoughts.