Thursday, September 06, 2007

Of Pork and Pavement

Encountering an editorial by Jesse Jackson absurdly attributing the failure of the I-35 W bridge in Minneapolis to the prosecution of the Iraq campaign in the 1400 Years War on the same day that, quite unaccountably, a street near my house, laid in concrete last year, was being torn-up to retop with asphalt, prompted some thoughts on the state of America's infrastructure.

The Reverend Jackson might be reminded that the 'peace dividend' in the days between the fall of the Soviet Union and 9/11 wasn't used to fix obsolete 1960's era bridges, despite the fondness members of Congress of both parties evince for 'bringing home the bacon' in the form of proverbial Washington pork. The fatuousness of attributing the decades-old neglect of maintenance on bridges to military operations less than five years in progress should be evident to anyone not suffering a terminal case of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Every member of Congress should promise that at least half of the 'earmarks' and other spending on behalf of the specific interests of their own constituents (or however they euphemistically describe porkbarrel spending to mask the vote-buying aspect of the practice and make it sound like a noble part of the governance of a democratic republic) will devoted to repair and updating of transportation and telecommunications infrastructure. If (as we can expect) there is no reining in of earmarks and other porkbarrel spending, and mirable dictu they all kept that promise, the problem of aging infrastructure would vanish within the decade.

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