Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 30 Jan '13 01:01
    I'm not convinced that more debt is a good idea, but if we are going to increase the debt ceiling I think it should go to infrastructure spending.

    http://theweek.com/article/index/239384/how-investing-in-infrastructure-could-reduce-our-long-term-debt

    Would it be worth the risk of a USA credit downgrade?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/29/us-usa-debt-rating-idUSBRE90S16O20130129
  2. 30 Jan '13 01:47
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    I'm not convinced that more debt is a good idea, but if we are going to increase the debt ceiling I think it should go to infrastructure spending.

    http://theweek.com/article/index/239384/how-investing-in-infrastructure-could-reduce-our-long-term-debt

    Would it be worth the risk of a USA credit downgrade?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/29/us-usa-debt-rating-idUSBRE90S16O20130129
    We built the current infrastructure on a whole lot less than we're spending now, even allowing for inflation.
  3. 30 Jan '13 13:03
    Originally posted by normbenign
    We built the current infrastructure on a whole lot less than we're spending now, even allowing for inflation.
    A whole lot less than we are spending on what? Infrastructure spending today?

    What is your source of information?
  4. 31 Jan '13 02:50
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    A whole lot less than we are spending on what? Infrastructure spending today?

    What is your source of information?
    I didn't do a scientific study, but would you agree that building the big MAC today (the Mackinac Bridge) today would be massively more expensive than it was in 1965 when it was completed?

    I'm thinking about the roads I travel on, I-75 both north and south. We have a mature interstate highway system, completed mostly decades ago. Maintaining it ought to be somewhat less expensive than building it to begin with. The really expensive infrastructure costs are often the boondoggles that our ruling class says are necessary. In Boston it was The Big Dig. Here it seems to be an extension of the people mover up to Highland Park.

    I have watched roads get fixed that were perfectly serviceable, while others falling apart were left to get even worse. I have also seen the demand for more money to fix the roads, and the promise that this would be enough. It never is.
  5. 31 Jan '13 04:21
    Originally posted by normbenign
    I didn't do a scientific study, but would you agree that building the big MAC today (the Mackinac Bridge) today would be massively more expensive than it was in 1965 when it was completed?

    I'm thinking about the roads I travel on, I-75 both north and south. We have a mature interstate highway system, completed mostly decades ago. Maintaining it ough ...[text shortened]... mand for more money to fix the roads, and the promise that this would be enough. It never is.
    I live in Northern Lower MI so I have been on the Mackinac bridge several times.

    Inflation is the only reason building a bridge is more expensive that I am aware of. What other factor(s) are you thinking of?
  6. 02 Feb '13 01:34
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    I live in Northern Lower MI so I have been on the Mackinac bridge several times.

    Inflation is the only reason building a bridge is more expensive that I am aware of. What other factor(s) are you thinking of?
    Inflation is huge, but labor costs, especially when government projects are bound to use union labor.

    Thing is that our current infrastructure is designed around cars, trucks, buses and highways. Trains carry mostly freight. I seriously doubt our highway system can be improved by much, it simply needs to be kept up. The sensible way to do this would be to stop collecting federal gas taxes and let the States do it, as all the work is done at the local level. That would eliminate wasteful boondoggles like the Big Dig in Boston, as well as the 20% to 25% bureaucratic waste of collecting and redistribution of the road money.

    Take the Mackinac bridge which we both know. It was finished just before I came to Michigan around 1965. Did you know we are still paying for it, although politicians at the time promised tolls would eliminate the debt shortly, the legislature budgets repayment every year.

    Now Governor Snyder wants to build another bridge and wants us to believe it won't cost anything!? If he has that kind of money, why do taxes have to be raised to repair existing roads? And why turn down a billionaire's offer to build and manage the new bridge? His risk, his cost, his maintenance.
  7. 02 Feb '13 01:50
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Inflation is huge, but labor costs, especially when government projects are bound to use union labor.

    Thing is that our current infrastructure is designed around cars, trucks, buses and highways. Trains carry mostly freight. I seriously doubt our highway system can be improved by much, it simply needs to be kept up. The sensible way to do this would be ...[text shortened]... a billionaire's offer to build and manage the new bridge? His risk, his cost, his maintenance.
    It seems like you are saying state government will do the infrastructure spending more efficiently than the national government. Why would this be the case?

    What union labor? Why would union labor be avoided on the state level?
  8. 03 Feb '13 02:07
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    It seems like you are saying state government will do the infrastructure spending more efficiently than the national government. Why would this be the case?

    What union labor? Why would union labor be avoided on the state level?
    Yes, State contractors do the work. Better that the taxes get collected at the level where the work is done. Michigan gets back only a fraction of the federal gas tax collected. Some of it just gets sucked up by the bureaucracy, and a lot gets wasted on projects going to senior Senators states like Ted Kennedy's Mass, or Robert Byrd's West Virginia.

    Clearly north of the center of the nation roads need more attention, due primarily to freeze thaw cycles. Rather than that, politics determine where the federal money goes.
  9. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    04 Feb '13 16:48
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    I'm not convinced that more debt is a good idea, but if we are going to increase the debt ceiling I think it should go to infrastructure spending.

    http://theweek.com/article/index/239384/how-investing-in-infrastructure-could-reduce-our-long-term-debt

    Would it be worth the risk of a USA credit downgrade?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/29/us-usa-debt-rating-idUSBRE90S16O20130129
    It's a delicate balance, especially in these days of massive national debt. Perhaps shifting priorities from subsidies to infrastructure would be a good idea.
  10. 04 Feb '13 16:59
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    It seems like you are saying state government will do the infrastructure spending more efficiently than the national government. Why would this be the case?

    What union labor? Why would union labor be avoided on the state level?
    Unfortunately, whether the Feds or State officials divvy out the money, fixing the roads and bridges becomes a political football, just like police and fire protection.

    The problem is that government at some level gets involved, and typically misrepresents both the needs and the proposed solutions. Poor priorities are the rule rather than the exception, and contractors routinely screw the government, and few remedies are available. When the pavement on I275 began to crumble less than two years after being put down, I don't remember anyone being held responsible for the poor performance of that pavement. The government just shelled out whatever it cost to redo the whole thing. Same as what happened with the big did in Boston.

    I don't have a total solution, but collecting the taxes closer to where the work is to be done would be a good start, then holding those responsible for proposals responsible for the results.