Our Failing Public Infrastructure

Today at our house in Fuquay Varina, all the lights went out, followed in seconds by a loud boom. It took us a few minutes to figure out that a local electric transformer a mile or so away had probably exploded, most likely from an overload in the 99 degree heat. It took about 2 hours to restore electricity in our neighborhood.

Last week, a bridge collapsed in my childhood home state of Minnesota. I grew up just outside of Minneapolis and crossed the Mississippi River many times on I-35. Over 5,000 bridges here in North Carolina are substandard, dozens of them here in Southern Wake County.

Last summer, Swift Creek, Lake Wheeler, and Lake Benson were flooded with millions of gallons of raw sewage after a pipe break in the Cary Sewer system. Cary plans to expand this system to run many more miles of pipe with raw sewage passing by Apex and Holly Springs to end up in the middle of the New Hill community, almost 15 miles away.

In 2006, only 68% of North Carolina students entering the 9th grade in 2002 graduated with a diploma 4 years later. In this age of global competition, high school dropouts on average earn less, engage in more crime, use more public services, suffer poorer health, and are less engaged in the civic life of our communities.

Most citizens expect our elected officials to take care of the “Bread and Butter” of government: Roads, Schools, and Public Utilities. This is the mundane, boring, expensive, but occasionally disastrous area simply called “Infrastructure”.

But often our elected officials neglect their responsibility to care for our public infrastructure. They engage in partisan bickering, work on private agendas, obstruct common ground solutions, and bow to wealthy special interests instead of focusing on the basic needs of our community.

Let’s put our common interest first and work together to finally address the challenges of growth, aging, and past neglect and make progress on improving and sustaining our Roads, Schools, and Public Utilities.

And if we don’t? Transformers explode, bridges collapse, pipes break, children fail, and we, as a community, lose.


Transfer tax

will help with alot of what you mentioned.

If it is not off-set by the state.

Counties don't have to share

the revenue from the Transfer tax. For the most part, they will use it to build schools, courthouses, and jails. In general, counties don't do infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, bridges, parks). The cities and towns are on the hook for those. The main ways to increase revenue for that are property taxes and user fees such as higher water & sewer charges.


You'd think conservatives would be all about spending money to do planned maintenance and upgrades of all sorts . . . not just to roads and bridges, but to schools, public buildings, technology insfrastructures, water systems and more.

But sadly, they are genetically unable to justify spending money to plan ahead.

this is a problem for everyone

noone likes to spend money for things to fix em. Espicialy when not budgeted for.

Today Republicans need justify only one thing......

They need to justify themselves to each other.

Good governance is not just irrelevent, but actually hurtful to the Neocons who pull the strings...mostly from the White House

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

$200 per American

Would fix/replace the bridges that need the most work/are the most dangerous. But most of us don't have an extra $200.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks


A lot of us can't come up with $200 in one chunk. But I could come up with $4 a week. That's less than I pay for my internet connection. Hell, by making sure the tires on my car are inflated properly, I can save that much in gas mileage.

It's not that much - and it should be paid.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

remove the pork from spending

and I wont have to do that.

Ted Kennedy with his $100 m earmark for a jet engine nooone wants is a classic example.

That $100m could easly fix a bridge or two.

double post...

...my bad

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

here's the good part...

...money spent on infrastructure makes for well-paying jobs-and the contractors don't require military defenses.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965


the projects get a Made in the USA label, er, I mean cornerstone.

A Higher Federal Gas Tax

is needed to provide infrastructure funding. I am sure W would veto any such legislation, so I suppose this will wait another 18 months.

There are 500 bridges around the country similar to the Minneapolis span, and "these are potential deathtraps," says Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, former chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

"We have to, as a Congress, grasp this problem. And yes, I would even suggest, fund this problem with a tax," he says. "May the sky not fall on me."

The last six-year highway and transit bill finally passed in 2005, two years late and, at $286 billion, almost $90 billion short of the $375 billion that transportation advocates said was needed to keep U.S. infrastructure from further deterioration.

Young and other Transportation Committee leaders wanted to pay for the larger sum by indexing for inflation the fuel tax that keeps the National Highway Trust Fund in money. That would have raised the tax, at 18.3 cents a gallon since 1993, by about a nickel.

President Bush rejected what he said was a tax hike and insisted that Congress accept a far smaller highway budget.

According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study last year, indexing fuel taxes retroactively to 1993 would have boosted the tax to about 25 cents a gallon last year, raising an average of $20 billion annually.

A nickel a gallon - sounds like a pretty good tradeoff for making sure bridges are not faling down.


I wonder why these gas taxes are constant per gallon

I'm no expert...but wouldn't making gas taxes proportional to the price of a gallon discourage oil companies from price gouging? I think it's crazy that gas prices are many times what they were in 1993, but the tax component of that is still just 18.3 cents.

I never thought of that!

Nearly every other tax I can think of is a percentage of the whole. I can't imagine why the gasoline tax is not, as well.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thank God it is not a percentage

else the total price of a gallon would really be growing.

Also, aint these taxes suppose to be going to a finite amount of money needed?

No, when the price of gas goes up or down. the finite tax on what ever needs this money gets what it needs by the gallon.

It was calculated based on gallons used, not on the price of the gallons used. Minor detail, but very important. Keep it to gallons used.

A gallon of milk is more expensive than a gallon of gas.

If gasoline were adequately taxed, then people would be paying more attention to it, putting more pressure on our government to use the funds keep our bridges from falling down, and finding real alternative fuel sources that wouldn't be so g.d. expensive.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

With liddy dole and mike easely

as our representatives

putting more pressure on our government to use the funds keep our bridges from falling down, and finding real alternative fuel sources that wouldn't be so g.d. expensive

just does not work.

Mikey is wheeling and dealing with the Navy on prostituting some other community in NE NC for this OLF and liddy does not even know where this state is.

If the state gas tax was $1 a gallon, and we where screaming at the top of our lungs, mike and liddy would not hear us. Mikey would not open his windows in Raliegh and well liddy just would not hear us to begin with.

Both would take years to determine what they where going to do and by that time, it would be to late.

No, I dont want any tax raised and I dont want to rely on liddy, mikey, burrrrrr to protect me from high prices on goods and services or for protecting me from infrastructure concerns.

This day of the internet, there should be a way for politicians to receive comments, concerns, complaints, ideas that are faster and quicker regarding turn around to the constituents.

These clowns can get their pet pork barrel legislation to the people in a week, but get them to do something that benefits people and lowers the cost of said item, welll, that just aint gonna happen.

No, I dont wanna give them any excuse to "five finger discount" my wallet.

We are screaming enough at them, are they listening? I dont want to pay more to be ignored by my representatives.

But "we" are not screaming.

You are, yes. I have been, on some subjects, yes.

But as a whole, "we" the people, have not been screaming.

I don't want my taxes raised for nothing - but I wouldn't equate taxes to a "five fingered discount" - that sounds like Republican talking points. I was raised to listen for those. I would be willing for my taxes to be raised in order to keep tragedies like bridge collapses from happening.

My point about the price of milk. vs. the price of gasoline is that gas is not as expensive as everyone makes it out to be.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

How many of our bridges in our state are in such

a bad state that our taxes need to be raised?

I dont know either.

Once someone stated how many bridges need to be fixed, if any. Then we need to figure out if we dont have the money to fix em.

If we do have the money, why raise taxes or even enable taxes to be raised.

We have been paying for roads for a very long time.

First, I would want to know what and why a bridge is in sad shape (if any) that no one knows about it requiring emergency repairs.

I would want to know when that bridge was due for repairs.

I would want to know why no one was pushing for that bridge to be repaired.

I would want to know what pork could have money reallocated for needed repairs.

I would look for every last dollar before I raised taxes.

I have not heard of any legislator asking for money for road repairs that where of a critical nature. Based on this, either supervisors or politicians are hiding safety issues from us, OR our roads are in acceptable shape.

We have a plan in place that till Minnesota, was keeping up with the needs.

Why all of a sudden the plan might be failing?

No, we dont need to even think about raising taxes for road repairs till first our reps prove that our existing plan does not work and then they have to explain why and when it started to fail us.