Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

An American problem

Back here at NPI Tower World Headquarters in the Beautiful Pacific Northwest, I'll be stepping aside a great deal so Andrew and Rick can cover the Yearly Kos Convention (see post below.)

But I do want to offer an opinion about bridge safety and infrastructure neglect. It's an American problem, not a Republican or Democratic problem.
According to the Center for International and Strategic Studies, more than a quarter of the country's bridges are structurally unstable. A federal report in 2005 said Minnesota's Interstate 35W bridge was structurally deficient and may need to be repaired.

That 27 percent "does not necessarily mean that any is near imminent failure," said Casey Dinges, the managing director of external affairs for the American Society of Civil Engineers, on "Good Morning America" today.

"Once a bridge has been designated to have problems, we keep a close eye on it," Dinges said.
While extreme anti-tax climates fostered by Republicans don't help, it's not like our party has been exemplary over the years. Let's face it, these issues fade quickly after a crisis. Everyone knows the Viaduct could fall down in an earthquake, but every day thousands of drivers are allowed to use it.

I'll always admit to throwing elbows, but in this case I think progressives need to avoid turning the Minnesota bridge disaster into some kind of partisan talking point. Honest people can have honest disagreements about the best way to invest scarce public resources, but the problems with public infrastructure date back a very, very long time.

<< Home