Monday, February 2, 2009

Things Only Government Can Do

Driving in Morgantown ,WV (home of WVU and where I'm doing my pediatrics residency) when its snowing can be truly awful. Numerous hospital staff who have worked in Morgantown for decades swear to me that the snowplows don't even come out if school is cancelled that morning. And so, after a 70 mile commute, on a snowy day I spend at least an extra half-hour sitting in traffic on the 2 miles of fairly-major-but-not-Interstate roads between I-79 and the hospital.

Most of my readership probably remembers the widespread blackout in August 2003, where power was lost throughout the eastern United States.

In Kentucky, Americans are dying because of poor infrastructure. Carbon monoxide poisoning was to blame, killing people who were attempting to warm their homes that were left without electricity during record cold.

And then there's the 13 Americans who, like me and presumably you, take the risk to drive across a bridge every day lost their lives when the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (i.e., people who are the experts when it comes to this sort of thing) give the existing infrastructure in the United States a "D" grade. They estimate that it would cost $2.2 trillion to get our roads, power lines and other infrastructure up to code.

As someone who loses hours to traffic, is more productive with electricity powering my workplace and my computer, and doesn't want to drown in my Honda, I really wish our leaders, knowing that they A) are tasked with creating jobs (and/or allowing private industry to create jobs) for millions of Americans, and B) have to maintain and improve the infrastructure that allows Americans to be productive and live modern lives, could figure out a way to get millions of Americans working on maintaining and improving infrastructure.

1 comment:

westamastaflash said...

Yeah, they've got lots of money for condoms, but god forbid they actually spend the federal gas tax on *roads*.