You asked a super question, Garl, when you asked where were the libertarians when the Highway Act was passed in 1956. Perhaps the gutless wonders who consider themselves libertarians should run as such. That is, run as libertarians with the party label on the ballot. We'd soon learn just how much American voters believe in libertarianism. As it is, they run as Republicans in almost all cases, and rely on the acceptability of the GOP to help put them into office.
Mecklenberg just happens to be the county in which Charlotte is located. It's normally a pretty progressive place, even when it has Republicans running things or representing it in Congress. As for the clown who has decided the federal grants for passenger service are a waste of money; what arrogance! What is his background that enables him to make such a stupid statement?
The railroad contractors need to play dirty like there Highway Contractors. What will it take to buy off guys like Mr. Ric Killian? I say a good case of 20 year Irish whiskey and a Hot Redhead. Anyone else want to up the ante?
"steam," your spelling and grammar still are atrocious. Would you be so kind as to explain how highway contractors "play dirty"? Or, are you just making up words?
Cut and run. That's really waht steamtrain6868 does. He posts a blog or comment that is preposterous, and then when challenged to defend his views, just cuts and runs, never more to be heard from until his next silly posting. Is this a personal attack on steamtrain6868? Some may consider it so. I prefer to think of it as holding the guys' feet to the fire.
From my understanding, part of the motivation and selling pitch with the original interstate system was related to its ability to facilitate national defense mobilization. (That's the reason most of the original interstate system was constructed of concrete as opposed to asphalt). The GOP is against all forms of government spending except that which they consider to be part of national defense. Perhaps it's time to consider marketing intercity-passenger rail from the national defense perspective. An elaborate and efficient intercity passenger rail network would facilitate large scale evacuations.
Good points, Blaine. Those who are old enough to remember, will recall that the Interstate System was named the Interstate and Defense Highway System, and was much more expensive to build and maintain because it was overbuilt for purely civilian use. Pavement is thicker, overpasses are higher and rights-of-way are wider than would have been funded for normal highway construction. Much of that was the result of the political debate over whether there even should be such a system. The defense argument sold it. There also was a bitter lobbying war over concrete vs. asphalt. It is my understanding that asphalt could have provided the quality of payment demanded, so I'm left with the conclusion that, like so much in our society, it was a political battle between interests and the concrete folks won. Just that simple.
LK>"Good points, Blaine. Those who are old enough to remember, will recall that the Interstate System was named the Interstate and Defense Highway System, and was much more expensive to build and maintain because it was overbuilt for purely civilian use. "
Well, actually, no. Slightly more expensive to build, but cheaper, potentially, to maintain, and the defense aspect of it is a lot smaller than many realize.
"Defense" plays into the interstates several ways. One was a a limited number of "defense highways," mostly spurs, that led to areas with very, very, limited civilian traffic. Those roads are a tiny portion of the total, but that's how the word "defense" originally snuck into the name.
The next was - and is- that while there is real interplay between AASHTO and AREA/AREMA and the military over transportability standards the civilian side usually dominates. We size military equipment, by and large, to fit on existing roads, railcars, bridges, and so forth; we have to, because we don't get to tell potential enemies or allies how to build their infrastructure, and we aren't planning to fight on US soil if we can help it. Also, ergonomics puts on some constraints, too, and much more so for stuff that might need to be worked on in the field.
Another, and by far the largest, defense needs were politically justifiable to both parties. The basic federal plans for what became the interstate system go back, with minor alterations, to the tail end of the Good Roads Movement. The old AAA national road map and the Pershing map overlapped considerably. The same road system, roughly, was pushed to grangers in the 90s, as a preparedness/defense measure in WWI, as a spur to business in the '20s, as economic stimulus (aimed mostly at labor) in the '30s, and, and as Defense again in the 50's. What is telling, though is that actual highway traffic dropped in WWII; long-haul shifted overwhelmingly to rail. Rail is still dominant for ammunition shipment to this day.
Finally, Eisenhower himself was a person of his times, and that unfortunately included a degree of bias against railroads, as did some of his administration - Engine Charlie was the Secretary of Defense, remember. Eisenhower participated in the cross-country road convoy in 1919, and was strangely impressed by the autobahns, which, if you think about it, weren't doing so much for Germany if he was driving on them. The only time (consider that one for a bit, road advocates) that rail was effectively crippled in theater, Allied movement slowed to a crawl, despite desperate innovations like the "Red Ball Express."
Nonetheless, Eisenhower never quite shook the idea that railroads were obsolescent monopolies, and acted accordingly. He also was painfully aware of the likely consequences of too sudden a constriction of wartime spending. Without the Interstate program, a goodly chunk of Federal revenue would stop - the gasoline tax was largely a WWII emergency measure- just as production from the Korean War was winding down. The "New Look" military, which was drastically reducing active duty and federal civil service jobs, was another deflationary pressure.
Some think that the desire to move more of the population into the suburbs as a covert form of dispersal played into it, but there appears to be no evidence that was initially the case.
LK>Pavement is thicker, overpasses are higher and rights-of-way are wider than would have been funded for normal highway construction.
Not really. As with railroads, it's a question of balancing maintenance with initial costs. WWI and WWII had both shown the dangers of letting too much deferred maintenance pile up, for roads as much as railroads, and that undoubtedly played into it, but the design standards were based on civilian speeds, not military. If you want individually controlled vehicles moving at 70 mph, you need a lot of sight distance, and that means wide bridges and gradual curves.
LK> "Much of that was the result of the political debate over whether there even should be such a system. The defense argument sold it."
Yup, especially within his own party.
LK> "There also was a bitter lobbying war over concrete vs. asphalt. It is my understanding that asphalt could have provided the quality of payment demanded, "
Well, sometimes, and it was sometimes cheaper, but the final cost as built, and the final life-cycle cost of flexible vs rigid pavement varies a lot from place to place, and season to season. Since the roads were built by individual states, there was another complication; all else equal, the solution that kept the most money in-state was preferred.
In fact, the system as built is about half flexible pavement (asphalt) and about half rigid (concrete) or composite (asphalt over concrete).
LK>"so I'm left with the conclusion that, like so much in our society, it was a political battle between interests and the concrete folks won. Just that simple. "
More to it than that for the decision, but that certainly describes the reasons for a lot of the squabbling. "...The highways of America are built chiefly of politics, whereas the proper material is crushed rock, or concrete." (Carl G. Fisher.)
Since it is no longer financially feasible to maintain approximately 16 million linear miles of 'public roadway'...
Since much of the roadway & bridges is in poor condition, since funding is inadequate for adequate maintenance or repairs...
Since the US debt ceiling is close at hand...
Since OIL imports are costing the USA approx$2 billion/day...
America's Railroads will be called on again to save the Nation...get it back on track======================
LIBERTARIAN/TEA PARTY ZEALOTS AND CONVICT RAIL-TRACK GANGS hard at work...swingin those sledges...
The guys with the biggest blisters on their hands get considered for FOREMAN positions.
CATOPEC INSTITUTE chefs hired for rail-track-gang catering...
BOX-SLEEPER-CAR bunks to be outfitted with the latest in sleeping comfort: the new TRUMP mattress---WOW!
Railwayist is back to simple sillyness, I see. Just for the record, none of the grim things he states above are preordained. Highways can be properly maintained. It just takes money. Taxes can be raised; it's Republican dogma that says they never should be increased. OK, if that's your belief system, stop whining about poorly maintained roads. As for debt ceilings, we shouldn't even have a statutory ceiling. The real debt ceiling will be the point at which buyers will not wish to purchase USG debt at market rates. Do not fall for the simplistic rhetoric of people who use it to peddle simplistic ideas.