Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It COULD happen here.

Photo credit - Jeff Wheeler, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Like a good many of you, I suspect, I spent a good portion of the evening watching the coverage of the horrific collapse of the I-35W eight-lane bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. As of this writing, seven are confirmed dead, one from drowning.

The recovery of cars from the river is now beginning, and who knows what the death toll will be when they have completed recovery. This bridge was built in 1967, and according to local officials at a press conference, while repairs were ongoing, nothing needed replacing until 2020, when the deck was due. All that, obviously, has changed now.

With the rape of the treasury via the unneeded Iraq war, plus the unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%, our treasury is depleted, while our infrastructure crumbles. When we DO replace W, if he hasn't declared a dictatorship by then, we will have to overhaul our tax structure in order to rebuild the infrastructure that has been crumbling since 2001.

Think I'm overly dramatic? Well, let's consider this: We in Memphis have the ONLY two bridges over the WIDEST part of the Mississippi, and the ONLY two bridges between Caruthersville, MO and Helena, AR, a distance of 162 miles by car.

The Hernando DeSoto Bridge, what all we locals call the NEW bridge, opened on August 2, 1973, 34 years ago today, bringing I-40 over the River. The OLD bridge, the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge, opened in 1949! That also carries an Interstate, I-55, with LOTS of trucks rattling across the Arkansas-Tennessee line.

The next president, if he or she is a Democrat, MUST be ready to raise taxes to rebuild bridges and schools, because NONE of this can be privatized, this must be bid out (properly) and done. If it happened in a relatively progressive state like Minnesota, you know damn well it can happen here.

Let's also suggest something else here: When we build I-269 and I-69, let's make 269 a COMPLETE LOOP. Let's have Phil Bredesen meet with Mike Beebe and Haley Barbour to build TWO new bridges over the river, west of Millington and west of Tunica. This would relieve huge amounts of pressure off our aging bridges, provide a complete beltway around the metro area, create growth in FOUR counties (Shelby, Crittenden, DeSoto and Tunica), and, once completed, enable us to shore up our two main crossings.

To REALLY do this, we need cooperation (ever hear of a governor who DIDN'T like to build roads?) we need a DEMOCRAT in the White House, because Democrats are the only ones who TRULY believe that humans are capable of self-governance, and know how to do it right. We need MORE Democrats in each house of Congress, in order to keep the Goopers from blocking legislation with needless filibusters.

And we need all this to rebuild our country and overcome the damage left by 8 years of Bu$h mismanagement, and 12 years of Republican congressional theft and corruption.

Remember the Twin Cities in your prayers, and flame away if you choose.


autoegocrat said...

You could get lost on this page reading about what's wrong with our infrastructure.

'Coma said...

All very good points.
Incidentally, the bridge to Carruthersville has always given me a huge case of the wiggums.

Mr Turnbow said...

You guys should have got former Lt Gov John Wilder to help you. Their were two new bridges built over the Tennessee River in Hardin County back in the 90's and he was instrumental in getting the ones in Decatur and Benton Counties built.

Freedonian said...

Look, here are very simple

In 2001, Congressional Democrats tried to get money to overhaul the electrical grid that served much of the northeastern US. The Republicans in Congress, with the help of their Blue Dog allies, spiked it.

In 2003, a blackout wipes out power to everything on that grid, and Republicans acted like they were shocked. Outraged!

In 2003, if memory serves (I'll have to look it up to be certain), Democrats were blocked in trying to get levee maintenance in New Orleans.

Do I really need to remind people how that turned out? People on top of houses? "Heckuva job, Brownie"?

So I felt a little sick when I saw the first wagons being circled last night. As I was watching CNN, they said that Norm Coleman had personally checked into it, and that the bridge was given a clean bill of health on an inspection three years ago. A questionable enough claim, considering it was under construction. It was made even more questionable when CNN showed a 2001 inspection report saying there was serious trouble ahead.

But as it turns out, not so much.

Yeah. We need Democrats to keep the hill and take back the White House. It's the only way to repair the infrastructure that the Republicans have allowed to crumble. There's always enough money for another war, or the "No Billionaire Left Behind" tax plan. Not so much on the infrastructure.