As we struggle with the truth facing local governments in the face of tax revenue shortfalls and the elements of insanity that the expansion of all government expenses has created over the past 20 years, it seems that the infrastructure that Governor Schwarzenegger has spoken about is collapsing. The Bay Bridge was closed for six days to effect emergency repairs and it follows a number of nationally publicized bridge, roadway and building failures over the past couple of years.
It’s not like the bridge will fall down on vehicles and crush them, the engineers claim. They’ve added some anti-vibration and dampening measures to stop falling steel or at least to discourage the steel from falling directly onto cars and bridge surface. If that doesn’t work, the State is self insured, so California could just send an IOU to any motorists who lose the time and bridge collapse lottery.
It’s an important consideration for the analysts who are telling us that the economy expanded last quarter, and that the recession is over. There is still a massive amount of borrowing on our horizon for the repairs and maintenance of infrastructure that has been ignored the past 20 years, in order to allow municipal and government employees to receive raises and pension benefits that cannot be paid from the current tax revenues. As we layoff many, ask productivity increases from those who stay and are unable to borrow enough to repay these bills, how can we ask taxpayers to drive on bridges that are 2-300 feet above large bodies of water, when many bridges are in danger of collapse?
The good news against this stark backdrop of declining tax revenues and decaying infrastructure is unemployment. As it goes up, fewer citizens are driving to work and that will result in lower death tolls, which are the tolls that will be paid for our short sightedness. When you approach a bridge that was built awhile ago, speed over it. The less time you spend on the bridge, the less likely that you’ll be left without roadway under your car when the musical funding game renders some losers.
Be mindful, be careful and good luck!
John Flynn November 2, 2009