Death toll expected to rise at U.S. bridge collapse

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. dong20

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,130
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    The grey country
    I read about this yesterday but refrained from posting because I assumed someone else closer to events would do so. Maybe it's not well publicised, though that seems unlikely.

    Anyway, I hope nobody here was involved, directly or indiectly. It's a tragedy that such things still happen.

    Death toll expected to rise at U.S. bridge - Yahoo! News UK
     
  2. SpeedoGuy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,229
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I'm not familiar with all the technical nuances of engineering studies but I confess I'm having trouble reconciling the two statements listed above.

    I'll go out on a limb here. I have a sneaking suspicion that lack of attention to fundamental roadway maintenance due to budget stringency in many states may have had a hand in this mishap.
     
  3. mindseye

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2002
    Messages:
    5,685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    It's not lack of attention, it's lack of money (like you said). Minnesota Public Radio ran a story on the state's transportation budget less than two months ago.

    From the article:
    The current federal administration has been too-friendly to big oil. They've allowed gasoline prices to skyrocket while freezing the federal gasoline tax (because "raising taxes" has become a mantra of evil for them.) This means more of the money you spend to fill your tank is going into CEO's pockets, than into highway repair.

    The federal gasoline tax today is the same as it was on October 1, 1993, before the so-called "Republican Revolution" of 1994.
     
  4. IntoxicatingToxin

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Messages:
    10,133
    Likes Received:
    152
    Yeah, that story scares me. Now I'm going to be all paranoid about the bridges around here, of which there are many, thanks to the Missouri River passing by me.
     
  5. SomeGuyOverThere

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2004
    Messages:
    1,496
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    What scares me is that a bridge collpasing in Minnesota is deemed so important that it was headline news here in the UK.:confused:
     
  6. socoken

    socoken New Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2006
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    If its sensational, dramatic, and frightening, it will make the news. Very little else does.
     
  7. SpeedoGuy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,229
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    mindseye:

    Do this mean federal tax rates or total federal tax revenue? Its not clear which.

    The reason I brought up the roadway maintenance issue is that there have been a number of studies conducted in Oregon pointing out the deteriorating condition of many spans and highways. These are all, of course, roundly ignored until a tragedy occurs.

    In my opinion this constitutes a "homeland security" issue just as important as preventing terrorism.
     
  8. mindseye

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2002
    Messages:
    5,685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male

    The actual tax rate (18.4 cents per gallon). They temporarily lowered it once, in 1996, before returning it to its previous rate; there hasn't been an increase in the federal gasoline tax in almost 14 years.
     
  9. whatireallywant

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,587
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Female
    This is going to add to my paranoia about going on highway bridges! :eek:

    Just about every time I drive on one, I think about "It could possibly collapse while I'm up here!" And that was before I heard this news (first heard it this morning.)
     
  10. SpeedoGuy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,229
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    The conclusion I gather from this, then, is federal funding for roadway maintenance has long since fallen behind inflation despite a clear increase in the number of vehicles and miles driven.

    Would it be reasonable to conclude, then, that the states are complicit for failing to make up for the shortfall in federal dollars toward highway maintenance?

    In either case, shifting the tax burden from the feds to the states hardly constitutes a savings for taxpayers (although it may allow a few DC politicians to posture and grandstand about tax policy).

    Just interested in these questions.
     
  11. mindseye

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2002
    Messages:
    5,685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Heh. Funny you mention that; what's going on at the state level, at least in Minnesota, mirrors what's going on at the federal level:

    As a result of Democratic victories in the 2006 elections, the Minnesota State House changed party control this year. Recognizing the need to make up for lost revenues, the legislature passed a gasoline tax increase in May, which was vetoed by Republican governor Tim Pawlenty.

    Of course, even if the governor had signed the bill, it's unlikely that the money would have gotten to this bridge in time, but who knows how many bridges are "on deck"?
     
  12. chico8

    chico8 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Chico
    The biggest issue here is that a lot of US infrastructure was built in the late 40s, 50s and 60s. Nothing lasts forever and without adequate maintenance, things are bound to fail.

    Given that the republicans have slashed highway maintenance budgets, it's not surprising that this happened. Be prepared, because more are on their way. There's simply no possible way for all bridges to be repaired/replaced at once.

    Deferred maintenance is a sign of a society on the decline.
     
  13. SpeedoGuy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,229
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    As I feared.

    It seems governor Pawlenty is gonna have some 'splainin' to do.
     
  14. b.c.

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Messages:
    9,259
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    at home
    Whether it's highway and roadway maintenance, the construction and reliability of levees, or the safety and maintenance of airports, officials (elected and otherwise) who put monetary constraints, politics, and personal agendas ahead of the safety and welfare of the public violate a trust.

    A disaster becomes more so a tragedy when it is one that possibly could have been avoided.

    Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
     
  15. IntoxicatingToxin

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Messages:
    10,133
    Likes Received:
    152
    I just saw this video on MSN... thought it was interesting... MSN video
     
  16. SteveWood

    SteveWood New Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I predict the following short-term results: a rapid increase in talk about funding for highway maintenance at Federal and state levels, and a slew of scary stories on your local news about bridges in your area that are about to collapse from neglect. Sadly, people often don't react to potential disasters until one actually happens. In theory, everybody understands that bridges need to be maintained or they fall down. However, until yesterday none had actually fallen down for quite a while, so it was easier to ignore the issue. In fairness to politicians, the public shares some of the blame for inadequate highway funding by loudly protesting BOTH tax increases AND spending cuts in other programs to shift money to highways. The money has to come from somewhere, folks.

    A second factor (not an excuse, but a factor) is that big bridges in urban areas - like the I-35W bridge in Mpls - are hell to replace. Because they carry huge traffic volumes, closing them for replacement in place is almost out of the question, and there's little or no room to build another bridge nearby, even if funding were available.
     
  17. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,494
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Female
    More proof that when Republicans rule, innocent people die. :mad:
     
  18. bobabooey69

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,175
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    86
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    FL
  19. SpeedoGuy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,229
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Concur. Its happening as we write.

    Again, concur. There were plenty of bi-partisan studies prior to Sep 11th 2001 highlighting the weaknesses and loopholes in the US aviation security system. Sadly, they were ignored because it was deemed much more important to spend millions of dollars demonstrating that the president had indeed lied about a blowjob.

    Again, concur. The citizens wanted less government. They got it.
     
  20. dong20

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,130
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    The grey country
    Perhaps because the UK media takes an interest in events outside its own back yard? Also, it's sensationalism, which sells.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted