24 August 2007

Under the Bridge

Here's some literally breaking news from today:

Route 295 reopened in Prince George's Co.
Chunks of concrete fell from bridge over parkway; no crashes or injuries reported
By a Sun reporter
2:35 PM EDT, August 24, 2007

The Baltimore Washington Parkway has been reopened after being closed earlier this afternoon when chunks of concrete fell from a bridge onto the roadway.

Shortly after noon, fist-sized pieces of concrete fell from the Greenbelt Road Bridge onto the northbound lanes of the parkway in Prince George's County, according to the United States Park Police. No crashes or injuries were reported but both the bridge and the parkway beneath the bridge were closed. As of 2:30 p.m., all lanes on both roads were open.

In the initial confusion after the parkway was closed, it was unclear which level of government was responsible for the bridge. A state highway administration spokesman said it was a federal bridge, while the park police spokesman said he understood that it was a state-owned bridge.

If only "infrastructure" were sexy!

What does it take for us to wake up? A bridge in Minnesota. Flooded subways in New York City, and prior to that, an explosion that shot steam and debris hundreds of feet into the air. Sinkholes here in Baltimore.

I'm not a "lets turn our back on the world" style America-First-er here, by any means, but geeze!

When are we going to take care of ourselves, of our own foundations? Do we need to 'declare war' on it? That has seemed to be a good way to get people in motion: Perhaps we need A War on Error! Those falling bridges want to rob us of our Freedom (to drive)! Maybe then we'd get some serious focus on it (and I can break out my long held belief that we need another WPA style rehabilitation program, or a domestic Marshall Plan). Sadly, we live in an age when "it's somebody else's problem, not mine" is the order of the day. And no one wants to pay taxes!

We've done it before, we can do it again. If only it were pretty (and, of course, CHEAP)!

An essential part of any successful action on the part of the United States is an understanding on the part of the people of America of the character of the problem and the remedies to be applied. Political passion and prejudice should have no part. With foresight, and a willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibilities which history has clearly placed upon our country, the difficulties I have outlined can and will be overcome. General George Marshall


John K said...

I didn't hear or read about this anywhere else but your blog! I hate to say it, but the only way we'll change things is by breaking the stranglehold of the unfortunately still too dominant and influential right-wing, market-oriented economic-political discourse, so beloved by our major politicians and the conventional media, that is really a bastardization of libertarianism, Hayek and Adam Smith. It seeps into and taints almost every public discussion. Even tragedies like the spate of infrastructure crises seem to be able to break its hold. But I haven't given up hope, at least not yet.

BronzeBuckaroo said...

Sometimes, I just wonder what it would be like if the people had a direct democracy instead of a representative democracy with career politicians and an a sometime ineffective legislative system who puts the coporate voice over the people's voice.

Unknown said...

I'd like to see something more like a system of proportional democracy as we see in Europe and Canada, where there are multiple parties as opposed to just two, and coalitions have to be built and compromised with (brought into the cabinet of the winners) in order to have more voices heard. I'm positive that we'd have stronger Green and Independent parties here in the US if this were the case. And these changes need to happen at the local level before any real break up of the two-party stranglehold will take place on the national level.