My Jobs Plan: A
Trillion Dollars For Infrastructure
by Kevin Drum I Mother Jones
A few weeks ago I rode an American train for just about the
first time in my life. It was the 9:07 Metro North from Grand Central Terminal
to New Haven, Connecticut, and I'm sort of embarrassed to say that I was
slightly shocked by the experience. It's not that I had any problem getting to
New Haven: The train left on time and arrived on time. But the two-hour ride
itself was terrible: bouncy and loud and swaying and uncomfortable for
practically the entire way. If you're not a car-happy Southern Californian like
me, maybe this doesn't surprise you. But it did surprise me — at least a little — and there's a reason for this:
Although I've never taken a train anywhere in the United States, I've been on
plenty of trains in Europe. Not bullet trains, just ordinary intercity trains.
And so I always figured this was what all first-world trains were like: fast
and quiet and suspended on a rail bed that's smooth as glass.
Go ahead and laugh. I deserve it. But although this is a
minor annoyance in the great scheme of things, it's symptomatic of our
deteriorating public infrastructure in the United States. A gas pipeline in San
Bruno, California, exploded last year, killing 38 people, and on Wednesday the
chair of the National Transportation Safety Board announced
the results of its investigation: The explosion was a story of "flawed
pipe, flawed inspection, and flawed emergency response." It was, she said,
"not a question of if the pipe would fail, but when." And this wasn't
just a story about San Bruno or just about Pacific Gas and Electric: The rest
of our national gas pipeline network is under similar strain.
For the complete
article, go to http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/09/trillion-dollars-infrastructure.