The infrastructure has been deteriorating for 30 years or more. The reason is not the invasion and occupation of Iraq or even George W. Bush. It really started in 1978 - remember proposition 13 in California? It was the grand daddy of the many "no more taxes" initiatives that have made it next to impossible for states and municipalities to even keep up with inflation.Is that why the I35 bridge collapsed? We won't know until we know why the bridge collapsed. But Ed Morrissey says it Doesn't Sound Like A Funding Issue. This is just as premature and simplistic as blaming the collapse on the Iraq war. Ed seems to be blaming the engineers. Those engineers have to make calls based on how much money is available. There may have been enough money to fix the bridge but that would have been money that then would not have been used to improve a road or repair another bridge. In other words the engineers are constrained by the need to prioritize based on the funds available. They have to make judgement calls and judgement is never 100% correct. The more funds available for infrastructure repair the fewer judgment calls have to be made. Nick Coleman has some local examples of why the infrastructure is collapsing and occasionally killing people.
For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It's been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government.And speaking of priorities Coleman gives us this example.
I'm not just pointing fingers at Pawlenty. The outrage here is not partisan. It is general.
Both political parties have tried to govern on the cheap, and both have dithered and dallied and spent public wealth on stadiums while scrimping on the basics.
How ironic is it that tonight's scheduled groundbreaking for a new Twins ballpark has been postponed? Even the stadium barkers realize it is in poor taste to celebrate the spending of half a billion on ballparks when your bridges are falling down. Perhaps this is a sign of shame. If so, it is welcome. Shame is overdue.