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(CityLab)   The US highway trust fund is out of money. Enjoy your summer road trip   (citylab.com) divider line 180
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6294 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Jul 2014 at 10:54 AM (11 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-04 09:00:30 AM
And when the next bridge collapses the same Congresspeople who voted against investing in infrastructure in the name of pandering to a guy wearing 58-inch-waist pantaloons and piloting a SSI-paid Hoverrround festooned with Gadsden flags will hold endless press conferences and vigils demanding "something be done"...before voting "no" on the next highway funding bill.

If the Interstate Highway System didn't exist and were proposed today the bill wouldn't make it out of a House Subcommittee.
 
2014-07-04 09:11:32 AM
The last time I was in Jamaica, the locals just repair some of the roads themselves, and then ask passing cars for donations.

How bootstrappy is that ?

Get ready, USA, your infrastructure will soon be of the same quality as developing Caribbean nations,

/if it isn't already.
 
2014-07-04 09:20:40 AM
Look, it was only a matter of time before Road Warrior became reality, this just bumped it forward by a few years. I recommend a very fast motorcycle, armbands that shoot tiny arrows, and assless chaps.
 
2014-07-04 09:25:50 AM
Simple solution- pull the DOT money from every project in all the Red states. They don't need that Federal government interfering in their lives anyway.
 
2014-07-04 10:11:08 AM

Dinki: Simple solution- pull the DOT money from every project in all the Red states. They don't need that Federal government interfering in their lives anyway.


Texas has you beat already. We're just using toll roads so bootstrappy rich people won't be inconvenienced when going to protest taxes
 
2014-07-04 10:11:09 AM
There has been more highway construction around here in the last 5 years than I can ever remember, with no end in sight.
 
2014-07-04 10:14:26 AM

Errk: There has been more highway construction around here in the last 5 years than I can ever remember, with no end in sight.


I'd say you live in southern NH, but I'm pretty sure there has been construction since my friend moved there in 2001.
 
2014-07-04 10:58:28 AM
Maybe spend the money on fixing the roads rather than lining your cronies pockets. Then it may not be a problem.  Ever think of that?
 
2014-07-04 11:01:46 AM

Dinki: Simple solution- pull the DOT money from every project in all the Red states. They don't need that Federal government interfering in their lives anyway.


To be fair Blue state drivers shouldn't be on the road . They're not the best you know .
 
2014-07-04 11:02:24 AM
The roads must roll.
 
2014-07-04 11:02:58 AM
Quick, let's piss away a couple trillion dollars blowing up a random nation on the other side of the planet!
 
2014-07-04 11:03:33 AM
THE US federal budget is twice as big as it was 10 years ago, and yet there's no money for roads.

Nope, nothing fishy here.
 
2014-07-04 11:04:16 AM

Errk: There has been more highway construction around here in the last 5 years than I can ever remember, with no end in sight.


You must be in Cali. Lots of road/freeway construction here in SoCal.
 
2014-07-04 11:04:55 AM
Can someone name any government trust fund that hasn't been empty for the past 20 years?

This is a phony crisis trumped up by the same people who steal all the gas tax money to build billion-dollar trolleys.
 
2014-07-04 11:04:59 AM
The federal government serving as middle man for state highway projects (except for the interstate system) never made sense to me.  I wonder how much the feds skim off the top?
 
2014-07-04 11:06:16 AM
This doesn't surprise me at all.  All our infrastructure is disintegrating.  Every time it rains, my power goes out for at least one second minimum.  Bigger the storm, the longer it stays out.  I don't bother setting my clocks anymore.
 
2014-07-04 11:06:25 AM
It doesn't take a roads scholar to understand the benefits of prioritizing transportation investment.
 
2014-07-04 11:07:05 AM

BalugaJoe: The roads must roll.


X minus 1
 
2014-07-04 11:11:48 AM
Are you sure?  They just spent a lot of time and money tearing up sidewalks and buying new WiFi enabled buses for my city with highway funds.  Seems odd to me that they'd spend hundreds of thousands of dollars tearing up sidewalks that were in good shape if they were running low on cash.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-07-04 11:12:52 AM
Imagine states paying for their own infrastructure. It would be like living in the 20th Century.

Imagine if the federal government threatened to take highway funds away from states with a drinking age of 18... and the states said "what highway funds?" instead of "yes sir!"
 
2014-07-04 11:13:00 AM

dwrash: The federal government serving as middle man for state highway projects (except for the interstate system) never made sense to me.  I wonder how much the feds skim off the top?


Enough to pay for several annual "fact-finding missions" to whatever vacation spot is the most trendy at any given time.
 
2014-07-04 11:14:33 AM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: And when the next bridge collapses the same Congresspeople who voted against investing in infrastructure in the name of pandering to a guy wearing 58-inch-waist pantaloons and piloting a SSI-paid Hoverrround festooned with Gadsden flags will hold endless press conferences and vigils demanding "something be done"...before voting "no" on the next highway funding bill.

If the Interstate Highway System didn't exist and were proposed today the bill wouldn't make it out of a House Subcommittee.


Do NOT besmirch the name of Strategic Simulations, Inc. unlike the GOP-led House, they actually produced something.
 
2014-07-04 11:15:47 AM
This is just another example of lazy children not earning their keep and of an inept educational system. They can fundraise, they can harvest materials, they can do maintenance, but do they? Noo-oooo. "Look at me I'm little Bobby, I'm 7 and I don't do jack sht." Bastards.
 
2014-07-04 11:16:06 AM
Toll roads would fix this!  Privatize the roads!  No more taxes!  Taxes bad!  Tolls good because reasons!  I'll carry my guns through the toll booth!  'Murica!
 
2014-07-04 11:16:12 AM

Peter von Nostrand: Dinki: Simple solution- pull the DOT money from every project in all the Red states. They don't need that Federal government interfering in their lives anyway.

Texas has you beat already. We're just using toll roads so bootstrappy rich people won't be inconvenienced when going to protest taxes


Here in Austin they even figured out that the toll roads have to go somewhere people actually want to go.
 
2014-07-04 11:18:04 AM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: If the Interstate Highway System didn't exist and were proposed today the bill wouldn't make it out of a House Subcommittee.


President Dwight D. Eisenhower would be called a RINO and a socialist for even proposing the Interstate Highway System if he would have proposed it today.
 
2014-07-04 11:19:56 AM

FourDirections: Look, it was only a matter of time before Road Warrior became reality, this just bumped it forward by a few years. I recommend a very fast motorcycle, armbands that shoot tiny arrows, and assless chaps.


I'm pretty sure Congress has America wearing assless chaps already. Those aren't toe-touches we're doing.
 
2014-07-04 11:20:47 AM

GORDON: THE US federal budget is twice as big as it was 10 years ago, and yet there's no money for roads.

Nope, nothing fishy here.


Iraq, Afghanistan, per gallon fuel tax that doesn't keep up with inflation.
 
2014-07-04 11:21:03 AM
Tax cuts will solve this problem.  Any fool knows that.
 
2014-07-04 11:21:05 AM

vernonFL: The last time I was in Jamaica, the locals just repair some of the roads themselves, and then ask passing cars for donations.

How bootstrappy is that ?

Get ready, USA, your infrastructure will soon be of the same quality as developing Caribbean nations,

/if it isn't already.


There have been two documented incidents of exactly that happening in my state, so we're already there.

/those guys didn't ask for donations though
 
2014-07-04 11:22:27 AM

Taxcheat: Can someone name any government trust fund that hasn't been empty for the past 20 years?

This is a phony crisis trumped up by the same people who steal all the gas tax money to build billion-dollar trolleys.


...trolleys? Is that a euphemism for "oil war machines?"
 
2014-07-04 11:23:01 AM
If you ...  TRUST... the federal government, you should be paved over as a speed bump
 
2014-07-04 11:23:45 AM
Change gas taxes. Make them dependent on mileage traveled and on vehicle weight. Make fines on odometer tampering and weight fraud massive. Increase as necessary to keep the trust funded 100%. Watch people start demanding more transit and sustainable commute options. Then, slow road construction, focus on repairs and enhancements, and call it a win.

Just as with parking, Americans have lived too long with heavily subsidized driving expenses and have literally built their living environment around it. Well, such subsidies aren't fiscally let alone ecologically sustainable.

Don't bail out the trust fund. Make those who damage the roads pay for it.

Oh, the per-gallon tax should stay as well. This would become a sin tax that gives intrinsic incentive to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. The funds from this tax should go to facilitating sustainable walkabity improvements, bicycle improvements, and the expansion of transit.
 
2014-07-04 11:25:46 AM
Tubes.
 
2014-07-04 11:28:35 AM

dwrash: The federal government serving as middle man for state highway projects (except for the interstate system) never made sense to me.  I wonder how much the feds skim off the top?


I've heard that "black budgets" exist in various nooks and crannies of the Federal budget, but I'm pretty sure that the U.S. Highway trust fund isn't one of these.

Having said that ... yeah, it kinda seems like a half dozen accountants and a couple support staff would be all you'd need to handle cutting checks to the states.
 
2014-07-04 11:31:50 AM

dustman81: Mr. Coffee Nerves: If the Interstate Highway System didn't exist and were proposed today the bill wouldn't make it out of a House Subcommittee.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower would be called a RINO and a socialist for even proposing the Interstate Highway System if he would have proposed it today.


Could you imagine the screeching of the environmentalists if the interstate highway system were proposed today?  Minority advocates would explode with hate when the maps start showing interstates through urban neighborhoods.
 
2014-07-04 11:33:25 AM

Dinki: Simple solution- pull the DOT money from every project in all the Red states. They don't need that Federal government interfering in their lives anyway.


Well, it would be fair - after all, most Red states also have the largest number of people who pay no Federal Income tax (you know, Mitt's 47%):
img.fark.net
 
2014-07-04 11:33:42 AM
How many more $800,000,000,000 shovel ready stimulus packages do we need to fix our roads? Maybe if more than 10% of it actually went to infrastructure there would be more money for roads.
 
2014-07-04 11:34:13 AM
Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) proposed a 12-cent gas-tax hike last month, which would raise $164 billion; the bill would be coupled with corporate tax breaks to offset the tax increase

How do corporate tax breaks offset the increase?  I'm not a corporation.  I'm not offset by this.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-07-04 11:34:20 AM
The Federal Highway Administration has a useful role in keeping standards sort of similar across states, but they could do that with a tiny fraction of the staff. I heard one of the New Hampshire DOT engineers talking about FHWA getting on his case because the red dots on the new symbolic school bus stop sign were out of place. States were given a new rule on short notice and not provided proper drawings.

The federal DOT should keep making sure that (for example) I-90 is close to a set of design standards for Interstate highways, the potholes won't swallow anything larger than a Smart, and there isn't too much corruption in the federally funded widening contract.
 
2014-07-04 11:34:39 AM

RareChimer: Change gas taxes. Make them dependent on mileage traveled and on vehicle weight. Make fines on odometer tampering and weight fraud massive. Increase as necessary to keep the trust funded 100%. Watch people start demanding more transit and sustainable commute options. Then, slow road construction, focus on repairs and enhancements, and call it a win.

Just as with parking, Americans have lived too long with heavily subsidized driving expenses and have literally built their living environment around it. Well, such subsidies aren't fiscally let alone ecologically sustainable.

Don't bail out the trust fund. Make those who damage the roads pay for it.

Oh, the per-gallon tax should stay as well. This would become a sin tax that gives intrinsic incentive to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. The funds from this tax should go to facilitating sustainable walkabity improvements, bicycle improvements, and the expansion of transit.


It doesn't matter how they tax, if they charge by miles and weight, everything you buy (that travels on trucks... So, everything) will get more expensive and you'll pay for it that way.

They won't look to go to rail or whatever until after price of goods have gone up, and they want to increase margins.
 
2014-07-04 11:35:28 AM
We had the Trillion dollar Spendulous bill that was full of "shovel ready" jobs to fix roads, bridges, etc. but the money went to the unions instead.

That, and if you'd quit spending motor fuel tax money on rail and bike trail projects that serve and extreme minority of people, you'd probably have money to fix the roads.  When I fuel my car I am not really expecting my money to go fun Amtrak.
 
2014-07-04 11:35:57 AM

bhcompy: Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) proposed a 12-cent gas-tax hike last month, which would raise $164 billion; the bill would be coupled with corporate tax breaks to offset the tax increase

How do corporate tax breaks offset the increase?  I'm not a corporation.  I'm not offset by this.


It's cost shifting: Away from the corps, and onto the people.
 
2014-07-04 11:36:12 AM

Demonrats: How many more $800,000,000,000 shovel ready stimulus packages do we need to fix our roads? Maybe if more than 10% of it actually went to infrastructure there would be more money for roads.


economyleague.org
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-07-04 11:36:58 AM
How do corporate tax breaks offset the increase?

I think the idea is to be revenue neutral so it doesn't feel like a money grab.

But there's a much easier way to solve the same problem, if it is a problem: transfer $164 billion from the general fund to the highway fund. No constitutional principle says general funds can't be spent on roads. Call it an "investment" in transportation and the president's followers will dutifully support it. They can't resist the word investment.
 
2014-07-04 11:37:01 AM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: And when the next bridge collapses the same Congresspeople who voted against investing in infrastructure in the name of pandering to a guy wearing 58-inch-waist pantaloons and piloting a SSI-paid Hoverrround festooned with Gadsden flags will hold endless press conferences and vigils demanding "something be done"...before voting "no" on the next highway funding bill.

If the Interstate Highway System didn't exist and were proposed today the bill wouldn't make it out of a House Subcommittee.


Funny thing is that 'patriots' like this live in areas that absolutely rely on a functioning highway system.  How much mass transit is available in Bumfark, Arizona?  I'm all for eliminating every penny of federal highway money.  In a few years, after the asphalt has disintegrated and the bridges collapsed, the 'patriots' will be isolated out in the middle of nowhere and the rest of us may finally get some peace and quiet.
 
2014-07-04 11:37:35 AM
On the plus side, states can lower their drinking age down to 18 and say, "What withheld funds? There are no farking funds left!'
 
2014-07-04 11:38:51 AM

mrmopar5287: We had the Trillion dollar Spendulous bill that was full of "shovel ready" jobs to fix roads, bridges, etc. but the money went to the unions instead.


What unions?
 
2014-07-04 11:39:05 AM
I'll just leave this here:
img.fark.net

/It's almost as if someone has been standing in the way of public spending, as a way of claiming public spending doesn't work....
 
2014-07-04 11:40:13 AM

Private_Citizen: Dinki: Simple solution- pull the DOT money from every project in all the Red states. They don't need that Federal government interfering in their lives anyway.

Well, it would be fair - after all, most Red states also have the largest number of people who pay no Federal Income tax (you know, Mitt's 47%):
[img.fark.net image 525x387]


There seems to be some data missing from your chart. It doesn't show who the people are in those states. Even the reddest and bluest states have plenty of people from the other end of the spectrum.
 
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