apodino
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US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 3:11 am

So we all know that both Trump and the Democrats want to get infrastructure done, and I don't think you will find a lot of people in the general public who will disagree that this is an issue of vital importance. But, given the swelling budget deficit and other issues, how do you get it done? Here are some discussions that need to happen and why this will be such a challenging issue going forward.

1. Traditionally, infrastructure has been supported by the gas tax. A couple of issues are now plain as day with this. One is that vehicles are getting more and more fuel efficient, meaning people are filling up less and less, causing less gas tax money to flow into the treasury. The push for electric vehicles in the climate change battle doesn't help the revenue stream. You can raise this tax more and more, but the more expensive gas gets, the less and less people drive or go electric, and this dries up the funding. A different source of funding is going to have to be the norm going forward. Tolls would seem to be the obvious answer, but this is tough to pull off politically. Look at Connecticut where Governor Ned Lamont is already breaking a campaign promise on this issue to deal with a huge budget problem. Additionally, the federal government has never collected tolls on anything, and realistically the only thing I think that tolls could be collected federally on would be Interstate highways. Such tolls would almost certainly be challenged in court, because while interstate highway is a federal designation, the states still have jurisdiction for the operation of and maintenance of these highways.

2. Which also raises the question, outside the interstate highways, how much jurisdiction should the federal government have in actually funding infrastructure? Most of the projects in the country would really only benefit people at the local level if you think about it. Repair of the Golden Gate bridge for example is not going to benefit anyone outside the bay area, so should someone in MA be paying tax money for its upkeep? Why cant states find their own money for projects instead of trying to rely on Uncle Sam?

3. Conversely, sometimes states kill projects that actually do benefit much of the country and the federal government should be involved. One such project was the Hudson Rail tunnel that Chris Christie killed. It may only seem like a local project on the surface, but in the long run this project benefits Amtrak as a whole from Boston all the way to Washington, and points south indirectly. I believe that with the Trump administration, even Elaine Chao has said this project is of utmost importance and is one of the DOT's highest priorities. BTW her husband is Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Schumer is the democratic leader. If anything funding this passes the house, it will pass the senate.

4. I am not sure how rail infrastructure is operated overseas. In the US, a railroad typically owns its own rails and has to maintain them. This is the only mode of transportation like this in the country, and its a big reason why passenger rail is not profitable in this country. What if the government was responsible for rail infrastructure, and the railroads paid them a user fee to use them. They wouldn't have to worry about rail maintenance and could focus exclusively on operating their trains. Not sure how well this would work, but its something I have thought about for a while.

I have more thoughts on infrastructure but I want to see how this thread develops. Its an important issue, and one I hope does get done soon.
Last edited by SQ22 on Tue May 14, 2019 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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seb146
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Re: Infrastructure

Tue May 14, 2019 4:39 am

I don't mind paying taxes to maintain the Interstate Highway System across the country. Bridges, tunnels, overpasses, interchanges, etc. That should be a federal endeavor. Interstate commerce and getting goods from inland to sea ports would benefit from this. Federal highways should at least get matching funds for the same reasons. Other infrastructure should be at the state level.

I would argue that the Golden Gate Bridge is an international destination, so it should fall under federal funds. Golden Gate Bridge District have their own set of problems, anyway. The way I heard, bridge tolls subsidize bus and ferry service. However, some of the local GGT bus routes were transferred to Marin Transit, so I don't know how true that is anymore.

As far as funding, I think even local projects the federal government would want to get behind. No matter which party is in power, it will look good on their watch to have REAL unemployment numbers shrink and see people have money they earned through hard work. Right now, the unemployment rate is showing so low because they do not count the people who have either given up looking for work or who are under employed or work under the table. Plus, this would add to the tax base. The number of people paying taxes will go up.
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jetblueguy22
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Re: Infrastructure

Tue May 14, 2019 4:44 am

apodino wrote:
So we all know that both Trump and the Democrats want to get infrastructure done, and I don't think you will find a lot of people in the general public who will disagree that this is an issue of vital importance. But, given the swelling budget deficit and other issues, how do you get it done? Here are some discussions that need to happen and why this will be such a challenging issue going forward.

1. Traditionally, infrastructure has been supported by the gas tax. A couple of issues are now plain as day with this. One is that vehicles are getting more and more fuel efficient, meaning people are filling up less and less, causing less gas tax money to flow into the treasury. The push for electric vehicles in the climate change battle doesn't help the revenue stream. You can raise this tax more and more, but the more expensive gas gets, the less and less people drive or go electric, and this dries up the funding. A different source of funding is going to have to be the norm going forward. Tolls would seem to be the obvious answer, but this is tough to pull off politically. Look at Connecticut where Governor Ned Lamont is already breaking a campaign promise on this issue to deal with a huge budget problem. Additionally, the federal government has never collected tolls on anything, and realistically the only thing I think that tolls could be collected federally on would be Interstate highways. Such tolls would almost certainly be challenged in court, because while interstate highway is a federal designation, the states still have jurisdiction for the operation of and maintenance of these highways.

2. Which also raises the question, outside the interstate highways, how much jurisdiction should the federal government have in actually funding infrastructure? Most of the projects in the country would really only benefit people at the local level if you think about it. Repair of the Golden Gate bridge for example is not going to benefit anyone outside the bay area, so should someone in MA be paying tax money for its upkeep? Why cant states find their own money for projects instead of trying to rely on Uncle Sam?

3. Conversely, sometimes states kill projects that actually do benefit much of the country and the federal government should be involved. One such project was the Hudson Rail tunnel that Chris Christie killed. It may only seem like a local project on the surface, but in the long run this project benefits Amtrak as a whole from Boston all the way to Washington, and points south indirectly. I believe that with the Trump administration, even Elaine Chao has said this project is of utmost importance and is one of the DOT's highest priorities. BTW her husband is Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Schumer is the democratic leader. If anything funding this passes the house, it will pass the senate.

4. I am not sure how rail infrastructure is operated overseas. In the US, a railroad typically owns its own rails and has to maintain them. This is the only mode of transportation like this in the country, and its a big reason why passenger rail is not profitable in this country. What if the government was responsible for rail infrastructure, and the railroads paid them a user fee to use them. They wouldn't have to worry about rail maintenance and could focus exclusively on operating their trains. Not sure how well this would work, but its something I have thought about for a while.

I have more thoughts on infrastructure but I want to see how this thread develops. Its an important issue, and one I hope does get done soon.

1. They need to explore everything from raising the gas tax to cutting other areas. We don't need to spend money on all this BS we already do. Take the Space Force funding and put it into infrastructure. Things like that.

2. I completely disagree that fixing infrastructure is a local issue. Especially when it comes to the interstate highway system. From a package logistics perspective, good roads benefit everyone. I work for one of the big package delivery guys, we're moving a substantial amount of packages through the interstate network in my state daily. This isn't just stuff that is going to be delivered here, but all over the country. And an overwhelming majority is never stopping here. Good roads, bridges, and tunnels benefit everyone from a commerce perspective.

3.The Feds have an obligation to intervene when interstate commerce is going to be affected. I'm all for state's rights, but there are times when we have national interests and local interests. Infrastructure falls into both of those interests.

4.You are NEVER going to have the government take on all of the rail infrastructure. Ever. They can't nationalize it without an absolute disaster of a fight. And the cost to obtain the networks privately is going to be so substantial that it wouldn't get funding from anybody, never mind someone who has to run for re-election. The rail roads would never go for it in the first place, so it's really a non starter. The only area where this could work is in the northeast corridor, and I believe Amtrak does actually own some lines there.

Problem with infrastructure is two-fold. The cost is enormous. I don't think the published numbers are even close to accurate. I look at some of the ideas they have in my home state of CT, and the cost to replace, and I just don't buy the numbers they are throwing around.

But the big one, and this is where the politicians whether D or R are going to screw up. MAINTAINING IT. Good Lord, we let it get to this point because we build a bridge or a road and then walk away. I drive 40 miles to and from work every day and it absolutely disgusts me how poor the roads are, especially with my rate of taxes and the gas tax on top of it. We need to make sure we are keeping up with everything we build or replace, not just set it and forget it. Pay a little now and then so we don't have the same discussion in 40 years.
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cjg225
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 4:56 pm

1. Funding (particularly the fuel tax)

Failure to raise the federal fuel tax since 1993 is an absolute travesty. The American Trucking Association, which represents MASSIVE consumers of fuel, has lobbied for years to raise the federal fuel tax because of the poor state of our infrastructure. Some states have managed to successfully increase their fuel taxes, but not many. It's a politically difficult issue, for sure, but one that absolutely has to be taken on. No one can make the proper argument for it. Political enemies just trumpet the "hey, this jerk wants to raise your taxes!" without any consideration for WHY the tax is being raised.

Which leads me to the next problem... DEVOTE THIS REVENUE TO INFRASTRUCTURE. The real travesty of fuel taxes is that they are routinely used for anything but infrastructure maintenance and development. Pennsylvania, in particular, is horrifically bad at this. We have the highest state fuel tax in the country, but we have one of the worst road systems in the country. The fuel tax revenue is used for plugging gaps all over the Commonwealth's budget.

Another excellent example is the Harbor Maintenance Tax (or Fee), a federal tax on the value of imported goods via ocean transportation. The tax is 0.125% the value of the goods. Now, aside from the fact that valuation is one of the stupidest ways of applying this tax, there has been long-standing anger in the maritime industry that the HMT is never used up from year to year; in fact, it carries an enormous surplus. Meanwhile, our maritime infrastructure is in desperate need of upkeep. Congress just doesn't allocate the money much. In addition, HMT revenue routinely gets taken to plug gaps in the federal budget. I was at at a logistics conference back in March and asked the conference's legal advisor (who happens to also be the general counsel for a major transportation industry group) about the HMT, and she said that there's actually, apparently some real political will right now in the House to consider restricting HMT revenue to only maritime infrastructure and to allocate more of it every year.

Skipping to #4

4. Railroads

All I'll say here is that Europe really isn't that different. The US railroad system is, by and large, one of the envies of the railroading world. While it has its problems, there are few railroad systems around the world that can match or exceed the US system in terms of breadth, technology, upkeep, and operating benefits. The reason high speed passenger rail works so well in places like Japan and several European countries is the same reason why freight rail struggles so much. The US is a very, very large country with low population density outside of the east coast. That is exactly what a freight rail system needs. You need to be able to build very long consists and run them without stopping. The 2 western roads in the US typically outperform the 2 eastern roads because of geographic advantages. But, the eastern roads have figured out their strengths over time. The 2 Canadian roads, actually, have it even better than the 5 major US roads because they basically operate in a big straight line across the entirety of the Canada side of the border with the US. The overwhelmingly-private funding of the US railroads also allows them to do exactly what they need to do rather than be beholden to government interest.

European railroads, because of Europe's population density and geography, struggle to provide any real benefit vs. over the road transportation. Additionally, many of the railroads are heavily dependent on state funding, which can be a curse just as much as it can be a boon sometimes. There isn't the political will to increase freight rail traffic because of its disruption to life in Europe; not that trucks don't disrupt life, but there's a difference between more trucks on the road and a mile-long train barrelling through a different little French hamlet every couple kilometers. But, it has been much more of a discussion recently because of environmental concerns in Europe. The European railroads have increased their lobbying in the EU government to try to make freight rail a bigger part of the overall picture for EU freight transportation.


But.... overall, the Infrastructure issue in the US boils down to one very basic and damming fact: No one gives a flying **** about infrastructure. Oh, sure, there are some politicians who say that they do, but no one really does. Why? Because none of their constituents do. People care about touchy-feely issues or ones that they can clearly see personally impact them, but almost no one can really see the forest for the trees with infrastructure. Sure, everyone hates bad roads or getting stuck in traffic, but that's not what infrastructure is really about. And when it comes down to having to pay to fix, improve, or develop infrastructure, no one wants to pay for it. There's an expectation that you snap your fingers and it just appears without any inconvenient construction or tax bills. It's not something the average Joe and Jane American can grasp. And, really, it's the same all around the world except in those countries which are more dictatorial and don't really care what inconveniences anyone.

Additionally, you need to really define infrastructure to mean transportation infrastructure. Technically, infrastructure includes things like water mains, electric lines, and other utilities. Those things get attention. Transportation doesn't, and probably won't for a long time. The last time the US really cared about transportation infrastructure was when Dwight Eisenhower realized the value of the Autobahn and decided that we needed the Dwight D. Eisenhower Defense and Interstate Highway System... better known as the Interstate. So, basically, not since the 50s has the US cared to do anything nationally. And that's a problem; while I do generally support states' rights for things, when it comes for truly-interstate commerce, I firmly believe there needs to be a national plan. What money we do allocate to transportation infrastructure federally often goes to pet projects in the states. There is absolutely no reason why certain projects should get funded in the country other than to pander to voters and get politicians reelected. We have no national infrastructure plan, which absolutely kills our ability to get the right projects developed that impact the most people and companies the most positively for the least relative cost. It's the same for road as it is for maritime as it is for aviation. Railroads are somewhat difference because they're so overwhelmingly-privately funded, but even they fall victim to political gamesmanship because they often need government support for projects, particularly around port facilities, and get caught in that mess.

To me, transportation infrastructure is probably the single most important issue in the US.... and yet no one gives a crap about it. As someone in the cargo transportation industry, it saddens me to see that.
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casinterest
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 5:31 pm

Lower gas taxes. Growth will take care of it .
:duck: :rotfl:



Seriously though we have to come up with a plan to fund infrastructure.

1. Funding

Usage taxes such as Gas, Toll, Mileage would need to be investigated.

Gas Tax issues: As electric and more Fuel efficient cars become available, the tax revenue goes down. If you raise the Gas Tax, you make the transition even quicker.
Toll issues: Only certain new roads can be tolled, and they have the issue of preventing use, or delaying full usage as people seek alternative routes, which delays the income benefit.
Mileage taxation: Certain vehicles that we depend on for freight, transportation, mail, protection require a lot mileage, and to be honest many people would jump into alternative transportation to avoid this tax.
Utility taxes for electrictiy as many vehicles are going that way, but at this point there would be low political motivation as they don't want to kill off a growing technology.

Property Taxes: These could be raised to pay off infrastructure. However, how much you raise it could force usage of alternative transportation if cars are part of the property tax.
The benefits here though could be that you are paying for your local roads and greenways, and subways/bus routes.

Income taxes: Income Taxes could be collected to pay off the infrastructure at the federal and state level, but this would require raising taxes.

Some mixture of the above will be in play going forward.

2. Transportation is a federal, state and local issue. Almost everyone uses these separately funded infrastructures at some point. Roads get built where needed and when needed by a combination of factors.
If a Road such as a federal highway or interstate needs widening because it crosses through a busy state or city, then it becomes part of the city and state to fund additions to those highways. Transportation is a concern of all branches of Government. Especially when you consider Airports , railroads, or shipping ports, which can serve multiple municipalities and multiple states.

3. The federal government should step in on items of national concern. Predicting where and when this should happen and how to fund it is a concern. Sometimes local projects by the states can offset the need to do maintenance on the Federal side, but there should be places where the Federal Government should step in to offset what the state can provide. Interstates that need widening to handle more shipping is one such case. Other items are public transportation

4. Railroads. This is a place where the private domain can interfere with the public good. There are many road projects that can't get undertaken due to the concerns of the private land ownership of the railway lines. This isn't a bad thing per seh, but the railroad companies are much more interested in hauling freight, than putting together a world class passenger train system,
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c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 7:45 pm

Railroad: IIRC there are plans like the Texas Central project that's trying to build entirely private high speed rail operation in the United States, yet they are still facing fierce oppositions.
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trpmb6
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 8:04 pm

You want to see how roads are done properly come to Kansas where our road contractors have great lobbying folks. The only ones better are the ones lobbying on behalf of the school districts who were somewhat successful in raiding the DOT budget for additional funding a while back.

Anyways. We have great roads, but we pay dearly for them.

Casinterest makes a great point about taxes. I only want to add that we've also hurt ourselves by creating more fuel efficient vehicles which lowers total revenue as well. So you get this perfect storm of things that make it hard to raise more revenue. It's almost like taxes affect people's decisions...

I'm a big fan of state's rights. But interstates should be totally funded by the Fed. I can't stand driving on interstate 35 and hitting the Oklahoma border. I used to joke that I could drive that highway at night with my eyes closed and know exactly when i hit the border based on the road noise and the number of potholes. "Highway miles are good miles on your vehicle, unless you are driving through Oklahoma." People within cities benefit from interstates, but by and large the majority of the interstate system (mileage wise) is driven by - gasp - interstate drivers.

Here's the problem with federal funding of the interstate. How do you decide interchanges? If a change to an interstate requires that an existing local road be elevated and a bridge put in, who pays for the bridge? who maintains the bridge? etc. These aren't necessarily difficult questions, but simply legal challenges that need to be addressed.
 
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ER757
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 8:44 pm

I know this won't be popular with politicians and has almost zero chance of happening, but cut the military budget and re-allocate those funds to infrastructure. It's well known that the US defense budget is higher than the next several highest spending countries combined. Yet somehow it's a sacred cow and untouchable. We need to re-examine that. We can cut it by a substantial amount and still have the strongest military in the world - just need to trim the fat and not have programs no one needs other than to be jobs programs in the states where the equipment gets built.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are going to have to somehow pay their fair share of road use tax that other vehicles pay via gas taxes - a tracking device that shows their miles driven is a possible solution.
 
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cjg225
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 9:00 pm

ER757 wrote:
I know this won't be popular with politicians and has almost zero chance of happening, but cut the military budget and re-allocate those funds to infrastructure. It's well known that the US defense budget is higher than the next several highest spending countries combined. Yet somehow it's a sacred cow and untouchable. We need to re-examine that. We can cut it by a substantial amount and still have the strongest military in the world - just need to trim the fat and not have programs no one needs other than to be jobs programs in the states where the equipment gets built.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are going to have to somehow pay their fair share of road use tax that other vehicles pay via gas taxes - a tracking device that shows their miles driven is a possible solution.

The defense budget's problems are far more about the incredible problems created by the Defense Acquisition Regulations and the general conduct of the defense procurement process than about pork belly projects. Our defense procurement process guarantees that we spend far more than is necessary to get the job done. People love to bash the defense contractors themselves and tote the Eisenhower "military-industrial complex" banner, but the basic, fundamental problem has been, is, and will continue to be the defense procurement process itself.

So, you fix that (LOLZ), then, yeah, sure, plenty more money for infrastructure.
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zakuivcustom
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 9:08 pm

ER757 wrote:
I know this won't be popular with politicians and has almost zero chance of happening, but cut the military budget and re-allocate those funds to infrastructure. It's well known that the US defense budget is higher than the next several highest spending countries combined. Yet somehow it's a sacred cow and untouchable. We need to re-examine that. We can cut it by a substantial amount and still have the strongest military in the world - just need to trim the fat and not have programs no one needs other than to be jobs programs in the states where the equipment gets built.


Nah...we can always just take money out of defense budgets and build roads b/c it's a "national security" issue. I mean, that's how IQ45 wants his vanity wall build, right?

trpmb6 wrote:
I'm a big fan of state's rights. But interstates should be totally funded by the Fed. I can't stand driving on interstate 35 and hitting the Oklahoma border. I used to joke that I could drive that highway at night with my eyes closed and know exactly when i hit the border based on the road noise and the number of potholes. "Highway miles are good miles on your vehicle, unless you are driving through Oklahoma." People within cities benefit from interstates, but by and large the majority of the interstate system (mileage wise) is driven by - gasp - interstate drivers.


When I was in Texas it's the same story - go north to Oklahoma or east to Louisiana, it's day and night. The drive on I-10 from Houston to New Orleans is just as bad (And it's a major trucking corridor).

And doesn't Oklahoma pretty much toll all their major artery highways? Ok, I guess I-35 is an exception, that's why that road suck...

c933103 wrote:
Railroad: IIRC there are plans like the Texas Central project that's trying to build entirely private high speed rail operation in the United States, yet they are still facing fierce oppositions.


There's Virgin Rail USA (Former Brightline) in Florida, which IIRC is privately-built. On the flip side, even the private HSR from LA to Vegas start in the middle of nowhere in California thanks to those NIMBYs.

But yes, it's insane that even stuff that are completely privately fund (i.e. Texas Central Rail) are facing lots of headwinds thanks to those NIMBYs.
 
TSS
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 9:14 pm

ER757 wrote:
Electric and hybrid vehicles are going to have to somehow pay their fair share of road use tax that other vehicles pay via gas taxes - a tracking device that shows their miles driven is a possible solution.

Or, in the short term just cut out the subsidies on hybrid and electric vehicles and apply those funds directly to road use tax. Long term, tax hybrid and electric vehicle owners directly according to miles driven annually.
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c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Tue May 14, 2019 10:01 pm

zakuivcustom wrote:
c933103 wrote:
Railroad: IIRC there are plans like the Texas Central project that's trying to build entirely private high speed rail operation in the United States, yet they are still facing fierce oppositions.


There's Virgin Rail USA (Former Brightline) in Florida, which IIRC is privately-built. On the flip side, even the private HSR from LA to Vegas start in the middle of nowhere in California thanks to those NIMBYs.

But yes, it's insane that even stuff that are completely privately fund (i.e. Texas Central Rail) are facing lots of headwinds thanks to those NIMBYs.

The part they're operating now at Florida was mostly just an upgrade on existing rail lines with new station. Only part of the upcoming phases that they still haven't built yet will be new built
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Aaron747
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 12:03 am

Some good thoughts in this discussion so far - I would add that since the government railways in Japan were privatized in the 1980s and 90s, companies had to contend with massive maintenance costs given heavy usage of both passenger and freight lines. They couldn’t increase user fees much, so they had to work with developers to utilize land holdings around major stations and quickly expand their portfolios. This has generated long-term revenues that have allowed them to keep up with maintenance, and are a rare good example of potential from public/private partnerships.

But the the core question here is a challenging one: given federal and state budget pressures, is rescuing our infrastructure long-term even possible? The more we defer, the more it costs down the road. I would say given state pension obligations and federal priorities, we’re nowhere close to having the funds needed without a few of the .01% (not 1%) chipping in tens of billions in ‘infrastructure charity’. Perhaps that’s something to lobby them for?
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c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 12:40 am

Aaron747 wrote:
Some good thoughts in this discussion so far - I would add that since the government railways in Japan were privatized in the 1980s and 90s, companies had to contend with massive maintenance costs given heavy usage of both passenger and freight lines. They couldn’t increase user fees much, so they had to work with developers to utilize land holdings around major stations and quickly expand their portfolios. This has generated long-term revenues that have allowed them to keep up with maintenance, and are a rare good example of potential from public/private partnerships.

If I recalled correctly, private railway in Japan have been using the model ever since 1920s. And some of those private railway are so successful that, for example in the Kansai area, private railways cover a much more area than the government railway by the time the government privatize the national railway network, putting the newly privatized operator at competitive disadvantage.
And redeveloping land property surely helped in many cases but it isn't a universal formula. As the Japanese property formula collapsed in the early 1990s, people have been moving back closer to the city, and thus many new towns along train line developed as part of new rail line development project have seen a decay in population and some of them cannot ever achieve the originally anticipated population within those town, which mean those rail line project not just unable to collect enough funding that they anticipated to support the construction of those train lines, but they are also falling short from gather sufficient ridership from population along the line to keep the rail line operation profitable.
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zakuivcustom
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 2:22 am

c933103 wrote:
Aaron747 wrote:
Some good thoughts in this discussion so far - I would add that since the government railways in Japan were privatized in the 1980s and 90s, companies had to contend with massive maintenance costs given heavy usage of both passenger and freight lines. They couldn’t increase user fees much, so they had to work with developers to utilize land holdings around major stations and quickly expand their portfolios. This has generated long-term revenues that have allowed them to keep up with maintenance, and are a rare good example of potential from public/private partnerships.

If I recalled correctly, private railway in Japan have been using the model ever since 1920s. And some of those private railway are so successful that, for example in the Kansai area, private railways cover a much more area than the government railway by the time the government privatize the national railway network, putting the newly privatized operator at competitive disadvantage.
And redeveloping land property surely helped in many cases but it isn't a universal formula. As the Japanese property formula collapsed in the early 1990s, people have been moving back closer to the city, and thus many new towns along train line developed as part of new rail line development project have seen a decay in population and some of them cannot ever achieve the originally anticipated population within those town, which mean those rail line project not just unable to collect enough funding that they anticipated to support the construction of those train lines, but they are also falling short from gather sufficient ridership from population along the line to keep the rail line operation profitable.


Adding on to this - it also highly depends on which part of Japan you're talking about.

For example, while JR East (Tokyo), JR Central (Nagoya, also has the Tokaido Shinkansen which they make 90% of their revenue from), and JR West (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe Area) are definitely profitable, and JR Kyushu is slightly profitable (Since it has a Shinkansen line and is also ran fairly good), both JR Shikoku and JR Hokkaido relied heavily on gov't subsidies.

JR Hokkaido, in particular, serves as a good comparison to passenger rails in US (especially upper Midwest) - low population density with 1 large population center (In Hokkaido's case, Sapporo), a few mid-size cities (i.e. Asahikawa/Hakodate), but is otherwise a bunch of small towns with declining population. Not surprisingly, JR Hokkaido lose tons of money every year, and is shutting down rail lines left and right, reducing frequencies on some line to bare minimum (Some stations see maybe maybe 3 trains every day, which is extremely low in Japanese standard), is a disaster operationally (Hokkaido winter is as bad as Midwest Winter, so that means heavy maintenance cost for a railway company that has no money; their trains also break all the time as again, they don't exactly have tons of money to replace some old trains on those rural lines).

Actually, in terms of railway, there's the "third sector" railways in Japan also, which are funded by local gov't (and receive some money from "central gov't") but operate as a for-profit corporation. The profitability of those lines highly depends (Some rural lines are in the red and required tons of subsidies, others like Chizu Kyuko Line near Osaka is very profitable thanks to the train that runs from Osaka to Tottori running right through it). Then there are lines like Hokuso Line is suburban Tokyo (and is a line which Keisei Skyliner to NRT runs on) which is known for its ultra high fare (Hokuso Line is one of those line similar to the type c933103 mentioned - the planned "new town" population simply never go anywhere after the bubble burst) b/c the company is otherwise in tons of debt as the line was built during the peak of property bubble.
 
Ken777
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 3:40 am

trpmb6 wrote:
You want to see how roads are done properly come to Kansas where our road contractors have great lobbying folks. The only ones better are the ones lobbying on behalf of the school districts who were somewhat successful in raiding the DOT budget for additional funding a while back.

Anyways. We have great roads, but we pay dearly for them.


I'm a big fan of state's rights. But interstates should be totally funded by the Fed. I can't stand driving on interstate 35 and hitting the Oklahoma border. I used to joke that I could drive that highway at night with my eyes closed and know exactly when i hit the border based on the road noise and the number of potholes. "Highway miles are good miles on your vehicle, unless you are driving through Oklahoma." People within cities benefit from interstates, but by and large the majority of the interstate system (mileage wise) is driven by - gasp - interstate drivers.


I'm not a States Rights fan at all. I was born in Texas and spent more years in Oklahoma, but I only consider myself a Texan or Okie based on who won last year's OU - Texas Football game. Basically I consider myself an American. I didn't serve m in the "Oklahoma Navy", or the "Texas Navy" - I served in the United States Navy.

For infrastructure we got screwed royally when Trump spent a Trillion and a Half on an unnecessary tax cut. That should have gone into infrastructure. Roads are not the only issue, er also need to spend money controlling water (especially flooding)and waterways, our airports and ATC, major dam management and repairs, etc. We are also going to have increased costs in the future because of Trump's irresponsible towards climate warming and pollution.

I believe that the only place Trump will find infrastructure funding will be through the "short term" import taxes he calls "tariffs". Get used rot that growing and not go0ing away. But maybe we can get some infrastructure - as long as Trump doesn't need it form supporting his current and new golf courses.
 
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DL717
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 5:52 am

The transportation funding is an easy fix. Raise the fuel tax a bit to cover the hybrid loss and tax electric vehicles by the mile, if you’re driving a big SUV, then you can afford the gas. Trust me, I’m one of them. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t be driving one. Electric vehicle users are the biggest government whores driving around. The cars themselves are heavily subsidized and there are so many free charging stations around I could puke. Free tolls on carpool lanes while still adding to the traffic problem? Must be nice. Who wouldn’t want free gas and tolls? Add to that half of the electric car drivers have solar at home so their essentially stiffing the utility companies that are going to have a similar infrastructure funding problem in the near future. Again, a heavily subsidized program that would have been money better spent on energy infrastructure than an individual home.

As to who what and how. The interstate funding is a mess. There needs to be a comprehensive plan for the interstate system. If a region wants to build a 500 lane corridor for local traffic, that’s on them at a regional level. If it’s open road beyond a large metro area, the Fed should drive the project. There are some pretty crappy sections of interstate out there, but there are others that are fantastic because some states are better than others in maintaining their highways be it tolls or otherwise. Then you get places that had tolls on bridges, then dropped the toll once the bonds were paid off only to have maintenance problems. So you don’t charge a buck anymore? I think people can drop a quarter for upkeep. You get to most major cities and it’s a roll of the dice as to what kind of road you’ll be driving on.

The other issue is the bureaucracy. Not sure how you fix that. Local level transportation planners like to shift money around for pet projects rather than focus it on the poor roads and dying bridges. You want a big network of mass transportation? Increase your fares and dump the subsidies and put the money, not into expansion, but rejuvenation. Mass transit people don’t have cars, so why should people with cars subsidize them? It used to be you couldn’t take road money and subsidize mass transit, but someone got the wild idea that it would take cars off the roads which it didn’t. Most mass transit riders are in urban cores where they wouldn’t use the highway in the first place. They can pay a little more to ride a bus or light rail system. Yeah yeah yeah, it takes cars off the road. Not really though, again, the primary users are in urban centers that don't use the highways. I used to see a lot of dumb moves by transportation planners, like congested sections of highways existing simply because they won’t put a metering stoplight on the on-ramp near a choke point. Add the meter, improve the merge flow. Done. Simple little stuff like this can go a long way to improving things. It’s ridiculous how the simple things get ignored.

The last item? Automation, go for it. Sounds real easy, but what to you do about the guy that doesn’t properly maintain his car and it fails causing a massive collision? Yeah, the one component missed in the whole discussion on autonomous vehicles. It would be worse than a crap driver having to rely on others to ensure they properly maintain their vehicles. Thanks, but I’ll keep the wheel, but gladly welcome proximity systems like lane keeping. That’ll suffice for the automation and it’s getting increasingly cheaper to implement.
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DL717
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 5:58 am

Ken777 wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:
You want to see how roads are done properly come to Kansas where our road contractors have great lobbying folks. The only ones better are the ones lobbying on behalf of the school districts who were somewhat successful in raiding the DOT budget for additional funding a while back.

Anyways. We have great roads, but we pay dearly for them.


I'm a big fan of state's rights. But interstates should be totally funded by the Fed. I can't stand driving on interstate 35 and hitting the Oklahoma border. I used to joke that I could drive that highway at night with my eyes closed and know exactly when i hit the border based on the road noise and the number of potholes. "Highway miles are good miles on your vehicle, unless you are driving through Oklahoma." People within cities benefit from interstates, but by and large the majority of the interstate system (mileage wise) is driven by - gasp - interstate drivers.


I'm not a States Rights fan at all. I was born in Texas and spent more years in Oklahoma, but I only consider myself a Texan or Okie based on who won last year's OU - Texas Football game. Basically I consider myself an American. I didn't serve m in the "Oklahoma Navy", or the "Texas Navy" - I served in the United States Navy.

For infrastructure we got screwed royally when Trump spent a Trillion and a Half on an unnecessary tax cut. That should have gone into infrastructure. Roads are not the only issue, er also need to spend money controlling water (especially flooding)and waterways, our airports and ATC, major dam management and repairs, etc. We are also going to have increased costs in the future because of Trump's irresponsible towards climate warming and pollution.

I believe that the only place Trump will find infrastructure funding will be through the "short term" import taxes he calls "tariffs". Get used rot that growing and not go0ing away. But maybe we can get some infrastructure - as long as Trump doesn't need it form supporting his current and new golf courses.


Transportation funding has a singular Federal funding mechanism, just like aviation. It’s codified, so the tax cuts did nothing to transportation funding and it wouldn’t have done anything without the cuts. That’s like saying you’d get better airports in exchange for the tax cut. You wouldn’t.
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trpmb6
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 12:25 pm

It's hard for me to look at this problem as a resident of Kansas where we have great infrastructure. Perhaps other states should look to us for inspiration.
 
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casinterest
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 1:52 pm

trpmb6 wrote:
It's hard for me to look at this problem as a resident of Kansas where we have great infrastructure. Perhaps other states should look to us for inspiration.

Really? The ASCE give it a C. Needs work.
NC has the same grade and I can look and see where improvements need to be made.

Maybe because Kansas has such a small population and large area , it is difficult to see all the issues around the state for you?


https://www.infrastructurereportcard.or ... 061318.pdf
Where ever you go, there you are.
 
zakuivcustom
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 1:59 pm

DL717 wrote:
The transportation funding is an easy fix. Raise the fuel tax a bit to cover the hybrid loss and tax electric vehicles by the mile, if you’re driving a big SUV, then you can afford the gas. Trust me, I’m one of them. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t be driving one.


Well...
1. Gas in US is actually relatively cheap.
2. Increasing Fuel Tax is just unpopular and no politicians want to do it. You don't want Yellow-vest protests in US, don't you? (Ok, to be fair, protesting (and striking) is the national sport of France :duck: ).

DL717 wrote:
The other issue is the bureaucracy. Not sure how you fix that. Local level transportation planners like to shift money around for pet projects rather than focus it on the poor roads and dying bridges. You want a big network of mass transportation? Increase your fares and dump the subsidies and put the money, not into expansion, but rejuvenation. Mass transit people don’t have cars, so why should people with cars subsidize them? It used to be you couldn’t take road money and subsidize mass transit, but someone got the wild idea that it would take cars off the roads which it didn’t. Most mass transit riders are in urban cores where they wouldn’t use the highway in the first place. They can pay a little more to ride a bus or light rail system. Yeah yeah yeah, it takes cars off the road. Not really though, again, the primary users are in urban centers that don't use the highways. I used to see a lot of dumb moves by transportation planners, like congested sections of highways existing simply because they won’t put a metering stoplight on the on-ramp near a choke point. Add the meter, improve the merge flow. Done. Simple little stuff like this can go a long way to improving things. It’s ridiculous how the simple things get ignored.


While I don't necessarily disagree with increasing fares (Actually, the major peeves I have with US mass transit, especially subways in general, is the flat fare system - distance/zone base system is a lot more logical anyway), personally I believe that major highways across the nation should be tolled also.

But I agree with your first point - you can put all the tolls in, increase fares all you want, many of those money doesn't even go back to the transit system/maintaining the roads anyway. Rather, between pet projects, authority officials fattening their pockets, and of course, kickbacks for contractors, and those transit companies just claim that they lose money and request more gov't fundings. Alternatively, those transit fundings are sent elsewhere to cover holes somewhere else in the local/state budget. And indeed, this is the root of all problems for US infrastructure (Not just roads/transit) in general - projects are often overbudgeted and delayed.
 
BerenErchamion
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 3:17 pm

cjg225 wrote:
ER757 wrote:
I know this won't be popular with politicians and has almost zero chance of happening, but cut the military budget and re-allocate those funds to infrastructure. It's well known that the US defense budget is higher than the next several highest spending countries combined. Yet somehow it's a sacred cow and untouchable. We need to re-examine that. We can cut it by a substantial amount and still have the strongest military in the world - just need to trim the fat and not have programs no one needs other than to be jobs programs in the states where the equipment gets built.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are going to have to somehow pay their fair share of road use tax that other vehicles pay via gas taxes - a tracking device that shows their miles driven is a possible solution.

The defense budget's problems are far more about the incredible problems created by the Defense Acquisition Regulations and the general conduct of the defense procurement process than about pork belly projects. Our defense procurement process guarantees that we spend far more than is necessary to get the job done. People love to bash the defense contractors themselves and tote the Eisenhower "military-industrial complex" banner, but the basic, fundamental problem has been, is, and will continue to be the defense procurement process itself.

So, you fix that (LOLZ), then, yeah, sure, plenty more money for infrastructure.


Why can't we just abolish it altogether? Why does our government need an entire apparatus devoted to killing people? It's depraved.
 
stratosphere
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 3:30 pm

BerenErchamion wrote:
cjg225 wrote:
ER757 wrote:
I know this won't be popular with politicians and has almost zero chance of happening, but cut the military budget and re-allocate those funds to infrastructure. It's well known that the US defense budget is higher than the next several highest spending countries combined. Yet somehow it's a sacred cow and untouchable. We need to re-examine that. We can cut it by a substantial amount and still have the strongest military in the world - just need to trim the fat and not have programs no one needs other than to be jobs programs in the states where the equipment gets built.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are going to have to somehow pay their fair share of road use tax that other vehicles pay via gas taxes - a tracking device that shows their miles driven is a possible solution.

The defense budget's problems are far more about the incredible problems created by the Defense Acquisition Regulations and the general conduct of the defense procurement process than about pork belly projects. Our defense procurement process guarantees that we spend far more than is necessary to get the job done. People love to bash the defense contractors themselves and tote the Eisenhower "military-industrial complex" banner, but the basic, fundamental problem has been, is, and will continue to be the defense procurement process itself.

So, you fix that (LOLZ), then, yeah, sure, plenty more money for infrastructure.


Why can't we just abolish it altogether? Why does our government need an entire apparatus devoted to killing people? It's depraved.



I am convinced you are a troll there is no way you can be real...
 
BerenErchamion
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 3:35 pm

stratosphere wrote:
BerenErchamion wrote:
cjg225 wrote:
The defense budget's problems are far more about the incredible problems created by the Defense Acquisition Regulations and the general conduct of the defense procurement process than about pork belly projects. Our defense procurement process guarantees that we spend far more than is necessary to get the job done. People love to bash the defense contractors themselves and tote the Eisenhower "military-industrial complex" banner, but the basic, fundamental problem has been, is, and will continue to be the defense procurement process itself.

So, you fix that (LOLZ), then, yeah, sure, plenty more money for infrastructure.


Why can't we just abolish it altogether? Why does our government need an entire apparatus devoted to killing people? It's depraved.



I am convinced you are a troll there is no way you can be real...


I'm a troll because I think killing people is wrong? God you're bloodthirsty if you can't even envision the possibility that someone might think it's wrong to kill people. I'll be praying for you to find Jesus, our savior, who teaches us to love our enemies, and offer the other cheek, and bless those who curse us, and do good to those who harm us..
 
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 3:51 pm

casinterest wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:
It's hard for me to look at this problem as a resident of Kansas where we have great infrastructure. Perhaps other states should look to us for inspiration.

Really? The ASCE give it a C. Needs work.
NC has the same grade and I can look and see where improvements need to be made.

Maybe because Kansas has such a small population and large area , it is difficult to see all the issues around the state for you?


https://www.infrastructurereportcard.or ... 061318.pdf


ASCE has done a great job in Kansas at lobbying our legislature for more money for infrastructure. They are definitely not impartial in this.

Seriously, look at each state. Couldn't find a single one that had anything better than a C.

Anyways, to my point, I think we have some of the best roads in the nation - based on my experience. I actually feel that we spend TOO much on roads and that we could stand to scale back some - though I'm not advocating that. I like my roads.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 3:55 pm

After WW11 the US tax rates were up to 90% and fairly high for companies. In the 60s rates were lowered to a high of 60% and companies a little lower. That is the kind of taxes needed to support an advanced society - its infrastructure, science and educational needs. We now live in the ME Generations. I got mine, and h*** with everyone else. The current tax structure is not supporting the current system which we enjoy.

Oddly, the amount we have spent and will spend in military operations in the mid-east would have paid for a total upgrade of all of our infrastructure. But that is not a collective priority of the citizens and political leaders of the US.
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BerenErchamion
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 4:21 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
After WW11 the US tax rates were up to 90% and fairly high for companies. In the 60s rates were lowered to a high of 60% and companies a little lower. That is the kind of taxes needed to support an advanced society - its infrastructure, science and educational needs. We now live in the ME Generations. I got mine, and h*** with everyone else. The current tax structure is not supporting the current system which we enjoy.


Furthermore, higher corporate taxes have historically meant higher wages and benefits. Since corporations are taxed on net rather than gross income, what happens is they choose to reinvest what would otherwise be taxable profit in future growth (via research) and employee loyalty (via wages and benefits), both of which do not increase the corporation's tax liability.

The increased mobility of capital over the last 30-40 years complicates that somewhat, but it's worth considering as a baseline that can be adjusted for current conditions.
 
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casinterest
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 5:22 pm

trpmb6 wrote:
casinterest wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:
It's hard for me to look at this problem as a resident of Kansas where we have great infrastructure. Perhaps other states should look to us for inspiration.

Really? The ASCE give it a C. Needs work.
NC has the same grade and I can look and see where improvements need to be made.

Maybe because Kansas has such a small population and large area , it is difficult to see all the issues around the state for you?


https://www.infrastructurereportcard.or ... 061318.pdf


ASCE has done a great job in Kansas at lobbying our legislature for more money for infrastructure. They are definitely not impartial in this.

Seriously, look at each state. Couldn't find a single one that had anything better than a C.

Anyways, to my point, I think we have some of the best roads in the nation - based on my experience. I actually feel that we spend TOO much on roads and that we could stand to scale back some - though I'm not advocating that. I like my roads.



The thing is, Roads deteriorate, and quickly. Same with bridges. Without ongoing maintenance and replacement, many reach the end of life sooner rather than later. NC is known as the roads state, and we have some good ones, but they need to be upgraded and widened, especially in the growing cities.

Regular maintenance of the top layer of Asphalt needs to be replaced every 10-15 years. The underlying roadbeds may need it every 40-50 years.
Bridges have an average lifespan of 60-70 years
Runways need to be resurfaced
Sewers replaced.

There are many requirements for infrastructure that is not usually apparent to the naked eye. I present a midwest bridge collapse as evidence.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mis ... ver_bridge
Where ever you go, there you are.
 
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Dieuwer
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 6:07 pm

First, cut graft, waste and corruption. You will find billions right there.
Secondly, politicians should be made personally liable for the policies they implement.
Thirdly, if all of the above is implemented, then think about the revenue and expense accounts.
 
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trpmb6
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 7:26 pm

BerenErchamion wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
After WW11 the US tax rates were up to 90% and fairly high for companies. In the 60s rates were lowered to a high of 60% and companies a little lower. That is the kind of taxes needed to support an advanced society - its infrastructure, science and educational needs. We now live in the ME Generations. I got mine, and h*** with everyone else. The current tax structure is not supporting the current system which we enjoy.


Furthermore, higher corporate taxes have historically meant higher wages and benefits. Since corporations are taxed on net rather than gross income, what happens is they choose to reinvest what would otherwise be taxable profit in future growth (via research) and employee loyalty (via wages and benefits), both of which do not increase the corporation's tax liability.

The increased mobility of capital over the last 30-40 years complicates that somewhat, but it's worth considering as a baseline that can be adjusted for current conditions.


The thing is, while rates were listed at those higher values officially, in practice very few actually paid those rates. It's a large misconception that individuals and corporations were actually paying those rates.

A far more accurate picture is to look at federal revenue as a percentage of GDP.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauser%27s_law

Image
 
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trpmb6
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 7:39 pm

casinterest wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:
casinterest wrote:
Really? The ASCE give it a C. Needs work.
NC has the same grade and I can look and see where improvements need to be made.

Maybe because Kansas has such a small population and large area , it is difficult to see all the issues around the state for you?


https://www.infrastructurereportcard.or ... 061318.pdf


ASCE has done a great job in Kansas at lobbying our legislature for more money for infrastructure. They are definitely not impartial in this.

Seriously, look at each state. Couldn't find a single one that had anything better than a C.

Anyways, to my point, I think we have some of the best roads in the nation - based on my experience. I actually feel that we spend TOO much on roads and that we could stand to scale back some - though I'm not advocating that. I like my roads.



The thing is, Roads deteriorate, and quickly. Same with bridges. Without ongoing maintenance and replacement, many reach the end of life sooner rather than later. NC is known as the roads state, and we have some good ones, but they need to be upgraded and widened, especially in the growing cities.

Regular maintenance of the top layer of Asphalt needs to be replaced every 10-15 years. The underlying roadbeds may need it every 40-50 years.
Bridges have an average lifespan of 60-70 years
Runways need to be resurfaced
Sewers replaced.

There are many requirements for infrastructure that is not usually apparent to the naked eye. I present a midwest bridge collapse as evidence.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mis ... ver_bridge


Quite familiar with that bridge collapse. My brother-in-law drove over it about 10 minutes before it collapsed. As a structures engineer it was a pretty fascinating disaster to me. Coupled with the familial connection. The failure had less to do with it's "structurally deficient" condition and more with the fact that it had structure not properly sized to carry the new loads it was required to carry. They foolishly added two feet of concrete to the surface, in addition to loads it was already carrying that it wasn't sized for. Add in the fact that, even though half the bridge was closed for construction (so hey less loads right?) they had a ton of construction materials on it. Sorry not a ton, 575,000 pounds. At mid span! Talk about dumb.

So not a great example to use for roads and bridges being structurally unsound. Yes, we need to update and maintain our stuff better. But in this case the failures that lead up to the collapse were related to bad engineering (undersized gusset plates) and not following the engineering (exceeding load capacities).

By the way, the new bridge is beautiful. Get a great view of US Bank stadium heading south.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 9:29 pm

Federal receipts per above chart show a drop in revenue from about 20% to 17%. That is significant. Another factor is that the US government picks up a lot of the medical expenditures which may be as much or more than 5% of GNP not spent 50 years ago.

By the way I use medical care despite it being in a total market failure mode. I am OK with defense despite its ongoing inefficiencies. I largely support Boeing despite its calamities. We are dependent upon the banking and financial systems despite all of their costs. There is no excuse holding off on infrastructure because it is not money perfectly spent. (ps - I would support corrections in any of these sectors)
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casinterest
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 9:44 pm

trpmb6 wrote:
casinterest wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:

ASCE has done a great job in Kansas at lobbying our legislature for more money for infrastructure. They are definitely not impartial in this.

Seriously, look at each state. Couldn't find a single one that had anything better than a C.

Anyways, to my point, I think we have some of the best roads in the nation - based on my experience. I actually feel that we spend TOO much on roads and that we could stand to scale back some - though I'm not advocating that. I like my roads.



The thing is, Roads deteriorate, and quickly. Same with bridges. Without ongoing maintenance and replacement, many reach the end of life sooner rather than later. NC is known as the roads state, and we have some good ones, but they need to be upgraded and widened, especially in the growing cities.

Regular maintenance of the top layer of Asphalt needs to be replaced every 10-15 years. The underlying roadbeds may need it every 40-50 years.
Bridges have an average lifespan of 60-70 years
Runways need to be resurfaced

Sewers replaced.

There are many requirements for infrastructure that is not usually apparent to the naked eye. I present a midwest bridge collapse as evidence.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mis ... ver_bridge


Quite familiar with that bridge collapse. My brother-in-law drove over it about 10 minutes before it collapsed. As a structures engineer it was a pretty fascinating disaster to me. Coupled with the familial connection. The failure had less to do with it's "structurally deficient" condition and more with the fact that it had structure not properly sized to carry the new loads it was required to carry. They foolishly added two feet of concrete to the surface, in addition to loads it was already carrying that it wasn't sized for. Add in the fact that, even though half the bridge was closed for construction (so hey less loads right?) they had a ton of construction materials on it. Sorry not a ton, 575,000 pounds. At mid span! Talk about dumb.

So not a great example to use for roads and bridges being structurally unsound. Yes, we need to update and maintain our stuff better. But in this case the failures that lead up to the collapse were related to bad engineering (undersized gusset plates) and not following the engineering (exceeding load capacities).

By the way, the new bridge is beautiful. Get a great view of US Bank stadium heading south.


It;s a great example. It is a bridge that was under engineered due to a lack of regulation and oversight., All of which contribute to infrastructure issues,
Where ever you go, there you are.
 
Pyrex
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Wed May 15, 2019 11:49 pm

Not sure why people keep correlating tax income with infrastructure quality. New York and New Jersey have two of the highest overall tax rates in the entire U.S. and probably the worst infrastructure in the country (a joke, really). Getting rid of the Davis-Bacon act so you don't have 10 guys standing around watching one dude repair a hole in the pavement (shutting down an entire road in the process), or making sure public infrastructure workers don't clock 3,500 hours in overtime in a single year, right before they retire, to spike their pensions, like that LIRR asswipe, would do a lot more to improve the quality of infrastructure in those places than raising gas taxes even more.
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Thu May 16, 2019 2:25 am

Pyrex wrote:
Not sure why people keep correlating tax income with infrastructure quality. New York and New Jersey have two of the highest overall tax rates in the entire U.S. and probably the worst infrastructure in the country (a joke, really). Getting rid of the Davis-Bacon act so you don't have 10 guys standing around watching one dude repair a hole in the pavement (shutting down an entire road in the process), or making sure public infrastructure workers don't clock 3,500 hours in overtime in a single year, right before they retire, to spike their pensions, like that LIRR asswipe, would do a lot more to improve the quality of infrastructure in those places than raising gas taxes even more.

The funny thing is Gov. Cuomo has spoken out on this issue and the labor unions are comparing him to President Trump (Seriously). But you are exactly right in the point you are making.

Very excellent discussion by the way. Interstate commerce is something I thought of for the interstate highways and why I thought those should be federally funded, but local roads with the interstate shipping is not something that I considered. I am not against increasing the gas tax, but the problem which has been alluded to is politicians raiding this for other stuff, which seems to always happen with certain taxes in a lot of places. (New Hampshire is one state where the courts have prevented this from happening) But the problems persist. With fuel efficiency rising and fuel consumption decreasing, and with it gas tax revenue, how do we fund these needed projects going forward? Like its been mentioned, things like tolls or distance taxing will find people seeking ways around them, which will help climate change but wont solve the bigger problem of funding this.

Honestly, the idea of a VAT is more and more appealing to me, and its been a proven concept in Europe for years. I actually find taxes like VATs, and sales taxes to be more progressive than graduated income tax rates, because these make it much harder for the wealthy to avoid paying them, especially if implemented on a national level.
 
apodino
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Fri May 17, 2019 3:12 pm

One more tidbit I will throw out there. CNBC ran this excellent piece on High Speed Rail, and why we don't have it in the US. Very good watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaf6baEu0_w&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1zP5fTS5NbgphXNlt18PP3AOcOu-Rh6kfzD3rANtM3EsjhWVErQY0cePo
 
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trpmb6
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Fri May 17, 2019 5:15 pm

apodino wrote:
One more tidbit I will throw out there. CNBC ran this excellent piece on High Speed Rail, and why we don't have it in the US. Very good watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaf6baEu0_w&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1zP5fTS5NbgphXNlt18PP3AOcOu-Rh6kfzD3rANtM3EsjhWVErQY0cePo



I find the hyperloop project to be pretty cool. Unfortunately, I think it too will fail for the reasons high speed rail doesn't work here. * At least for passenger traffic. I think Freight traffic may make hyperloop a possibility - and perhaps passenger variants may find a way to creep in and use the same lines. (Though that comes with its own regulatory hurdles)
 
LittleFokker
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Fri May 17, 2019 9:32 pm

Illinois Govenor J.B. Pritzker introduced his vision for rebuilding state infrastructure. Does come with a fair amount of tax increases (not surprising), but it's fascinating to see how they intend to spend it. House/Senate also in Democratic control, so there's a good chance this vision, or a modified version of it, could pass. Would like to hear thoughts on this vision.

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/greg-hi ... 3U0d-ZUyz4
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 1:13 pm

Just saw the news about cancellation of funding for California high speed rail - Well nothing can be done if the government is actively working against the people and blocking people from.improving the place they live in
Say NO to Hong Kong police's cooperation with criminal organizations like triad.
 
TSS
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 2:20 pm

c933103 wrote:
Just saw the news about cancellation of funding for California high speed rail - Well nothing can be done if the government is actively working against the people and blocking people from improving the place they live in.

From everything I've read about it, it was a case of ever-expending scope in the form of more and more stops along the line causing outrageous cost overruns many times the initial estimate with no end in sight.
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c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 2:29 pm

TSS wrote:
c933103 wrote:
Just saw the news about cancellation of funding for California high speed rail - Well nothing can be done if the government is actively working against the people and blocking people from improving the place they live in.

From everything I've read about it, it was a case of ever-expending scope in the form of more and more stops along the line causing outrageous cost overruns many times the initial estimate with no end in sight.

Image
According to this graph I found on Google, cost of constructing stations seems to be less than 10% of the project cost, it would be difficult for me to imagine that this small percentage of the total cost increase would be disastrous enough to warrant the cancellation of funding for the entire project.
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TSS
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 3:17 pm

c933103 wrote:
TSS wrote:
c933103 wrote:
Just saw the news about cancellation of funding for California high speed rail - Well nothing can be done if the government is actively working against the people and blocking people from improving the place they live in.

From everything I've read about it, it was a case of ever-expending scope in the form of more and more stops along the line causing outrageous cost overruns many times the initial estimate with no end in sight.

Image
According to this graph I found on Google, cost of constructing stations seems to be less than 10% of the project cost, it would be difficult for me to imagine that this small percentage of the total cost increase would be disastrous enough to warrant the cancellation of funding for the entire project.

Not the building of the stations themselves, the adding of station after station to what is supposed to be a high-speed, and thus limited access, line. Check me on my numbers, but I think the original cost estimate was something like $25 billion for the completed project and Governor Newsom wisely turned off the money tap after $77 billion had been spent and none of it is complete yet. Californians throwing good money after bad and having nothing to show for it once they're done is not "improving the place they live in", though I don't doubt that a few contractors and politicians have certainly improved their own personal standard of living through this project.
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WIederling
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 3:47 pm

apodino wrote:
One more tidbit I will throw out there. CNBC ran this excellent piece on High Speed Rail, and why we don't have it in the US. Very good watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaf6baEu0_w&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1zP5fTS5NbgphXNlt18PP3AOcOu-Rh6kfzD3rANtM3EsjhWVErQY0cePo


could you replace railway with highway and make the same kind of argument?
( Highway network in the US was quite the socialist project at the time. Same dam building, ... New Deal and such. )
Murphy is an optimist
 
c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 4:19 pm

TSS wrote:
c933103 wrote:
TSS wrote:
From everything I've read about it, it was a case of ever-expending scope in the form of more and more stops along the line causing outrageous cost overruns many times the initial estimate with no end in sight.

Image
According to this graph I found on Google, cost of constructing stations seems to be less than 10% of the project cost, it would be difficult for me to imagine that this small percentage of the total cost increase would be disastrous enough to warrant the cancellation of funding for the entire project.

Not the building of the stations themselves, the adding of station after station to what is supposed to be a high-speed, and thus limited access, line. Check me on my numbers, but I think the original cost estimate was something like $25 billion for the completed project and Governor Newsom wisely turned off the money tap after $77 billion had been spent and none of it is complete yet. Californians throwing good money after bad and having nothing to show for it once they're done is not "improving the place they live in", though I don't doubt that a few contractors and politicians have certainly improved their own personal standard of living through this project.

For a typical high speed rail system like those you would find in Japan and such, there could be many stations in between but they won't affect the speed as long as most trains skipped intermediate station for quick commute between large cities at both end, and then you can add a few trains per hours that will stop at stations along the way to pick up passengers travelling to and from those smaller stations.
And I can't find any references on the internet that would say the California high speed railway would only cost twenty-something billion to complete. Pretty sure it is a figure impossible to achieve even if you build it in China with cheap Chinese labor, let alone we are talking about building it in America now.
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c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 5:39 pm

WIederling wrote:
apodino wrote:
One more tidbit I will throw out there. CNBC ran this excellent piece on High Speed Rail, and why we don't have it in the US. Very good watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaf6baEu0_w&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1zP5fTS5NbgphXNlt18PP3AOcOu-Rh6kfzD3rANtM3EsjhWVErQY0cePo


could you replace railway with highway and make the same kind of argument?
( Highway network in the US was quite the socialist project at the time. Same dam building, ... New Deal and such. )

Doesn't seems so according to reasons stated in the program
TSS wrote:
c933103 wrote:
TSS wrote:
From everything I've read about it, it was a case of ever-expending scope in the form of more and more stops along the line causing outrageous cost overruns many times the initial estimate with no end in sight.

Image
According to this graph I found on Google, cost of constructing stations seems to be less than 10% of the project cost, it would be difficult for me to imagine that this small percentage of the total cost increase would be disastrous enough to warrant the cancellation of funding for the entire project.

Not the building of the stations themselves, the adding of station after station to what is supposed to be a high-speed, and thus limited access, line. Check me on my numbers, but I think the original cost estimate was something like $25 billion for the completed project and Governor Newsom wisely turned off the money tap after $77 billion had been spent and none of it is complete yet. Californians throwing good money after bad and having nothing to show for it once they're done is not "improving the place they live in", though I don't doubt that a few contractors and politicians have certainly improved their own personal standard of living through this project.

According to texts quoted in the program above, the situation is that:
Although the Authority has secured and identified funding of over $28 billion that it expect will be sufficient to complete initial segments, that funding will not be enough to connect those segments, or finish the rest of the system - estimated to cost over $77 billion.

So it wasn't different in money due to inflated cost over time, instead it is just break down of the cost of the project over different phases
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WIederling
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 8:35 pm

c933103 wrote:
WIederling wrote:
apodino wrote:
One more tidbit I will throw out there. CNBC ran this excellent piece on High Speed Rail, and why we don't have it in the US. Very good watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaf6baEu0_w&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1zP5fTS5NbgphXNlt18PP3AOcOu-Rh6kfzD3rANtM3EsjhWVErQY0cePo


could you replace railway with highway and make the same kind of argument?
( Highway network in the US was quite the socialist project at the time. Same dam building, ... New Deal and such. )

Doesn't seems so according to reasons stated in the program
TSS wrote:
c933103 wrote:
Image
According to this graph I found on Google, cost of constructing stations seems to be less than 10% of the project cost, it would be difficult for me to imagine that this small percentage of the total cost increase would be disastrous enough to warrant the cancellation of funding for the entire project.

Not the building of the stations themselves, the adding of station after station to what is supposed to be a high-speed, and thus limited access, line. Check me on my numbers, but I think the original cost estimate was something like $25 billion for the completed project and Governor Newsom wisely turned off the money tap after $77 billion had been spent and none of it is complete yet. Californians throwing good money after bad and having nothing to show for it once they're done is not "improving the place they live in", though I don't doubt that a few contractors and politicians have certainly improved their own personal standard of living through this project.

According to texts quoted in the program above, the situation is that:
Although the Authority has secured and identified funding of over $28 billion that it expect will be sufficient to complete initial segments, that funding will not be enough to connect those segments, or finish the rest of the system - estimated to cost over $77 billion.

So it wasn't different in money due to inflated cost over time, instead it is just break down of the cost of the project over different phases


I think you did not get the direction of my question:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal#Public_works
Murphy is an optimist
 
anrec80
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 10:15 pm

c933103 wrote:
Just saw the news about cancellation of funding for California high speed rail - Well nothing can be done if the government is actively working against the people and blocking people from.improving the place they live in


Of course there is no money for it - everything is given away to those claiming to be “poor” and “destitute”.
 
anrec80
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 10:22 pm

Pyrex wrote:
Not sure why people keep correlating tax income with infrastructure quality. New York and New Jersey have two of the highest overall tax rates in the entire U.S. and probably the worst infrastructure in the country (a joke, really). Getting rid of the Davis-Bacon act so you don't have 10 guys standing around watching one dude repair a hole in the pavement (shutting down an entire road in the process), or making sure public infrastructure workers don't clock 3,500 hours in overtime in a single year, right before they retire, to spike their pensions, like that LIRR asswipe, would do a lot more to improve the quality of infrastructure in those places than raising gas taxes even more.


Perfectly agree. Tax rates and public services quality don’t correlate at all. If New York City and New York State want to remain competitive - they need to make themselves efficient and to get rid of all these union burdens onto other taxpayers.
 
c933103
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 10:43 pm

anrec80 wrote:
c933103 wrote:
Just saw the news about cancellation of funding for California high speed rail - Well nothing can be done if the government is actively working against the people and blocking people from.improving the place they live in


Of course there is no money for it - everything is given away to those claiming to be “poor” and “destitute”.

What? The post was about American central government's funding allocation, and it said nothing about funding situation of the project itself. The 1 billion that was supposed to be assigned to the project was not even an significant part of the project's total costs quoted above, just to show how little support the American government is offering to infrastructures.
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PPVRA
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Re: US Infrastructure Issues - how to get them fixed given the budget issues?

Sat May 18, 2019 10:44 pm

Privatize airports and interstates. That will generate trillion$ in government revenue and private investments.

Not a penny on the cost side for the taxpayer.
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