Thursday, March 2, 2017

Republican potholes cost American drivers $3 billion every year

Above: Many roads in rural America are in horrible shape, like the one you see above. But strangely, many rural Americans continue voting for Republicans - Republicans who don't give a damn about infrastructure. Many rural Americans (certainly not all of course) are easily bamboozled by hollow rhetoric about "God" and "liberty" and "family values," and by fear-mongering about gays, Sharia law, and "inner-city youth" (Republican code for "black youth"). Right-wing politicians and their billionaire puppet-masters use this rhetoric to reel in rural voters, and then to distract them from (a) Republican & billionaire attacks on social programs that benefit rural Americans, and (b) tax-breaks-for-the-wealthy that leave precious little money for infrastructure repairs (let alone modernization). Photo by Brent McKee.

From AAA: "A recent study from AAA Automotive Engineering, revealed that pothole damage has cost U.S. drivers $15 billion in vehicle repairs over the last five years, or approximately $3 billion annually" (AAA, Motorist, Ohio / West Virginia, March / April 2017, p. 19). In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported on the overall condition of our roads (not just potholes) and found that  "32% of America's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing U.S. motorists who are traveling on deficient pavement $67 billion a year, or $324 per motorist, in additional repairs and operating costs."

Over the past many years, Republicans have made a habit out of blocking infrastructure plans put forth by President Obama, Bernie Sanders, and others (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here). Things were so bad that even a senior Republican in Congress blamed his own party for infrastructure neglect. And when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (a Republican) looked at a Republican infrastructure plan in 2012, he said: "It's the worst transportation bill I've ever seen during 35 years of public service." Worse still, Republican governors like Sam Brownback (Kansas) hand out tax breaks to their wealthy residents, then take money from their highway funds to make up the difference, and then ask the rest of us to pay for their highways (read that again, very carefully, and then see my recent blog post "While its infrastructure falls apart, Kansas continues giving tax breaks to the wealthy... and then asks the federal government for a bailout" for more details).

Will things be better with Trump in the White House? After all, he's proposed that $1 trillion be put towards our infrastructure. Well, maybe things will be better... but probably not, because Trump wants private funding to be included. This means a high probability of more toll roads. And let's be frank: if you want to sit in long lines of traffic, waiting to pay Corporate America at their toll booths, for the privilege of driving on "their" roads, you're probably a moron.

It's abundantly clear that when it comes to infrastructure, Republicans have proven themselves to be completely & utterly incompetent. They have no business even speaking on the matter, let alone legislating it. 

See, "In Texas, Toll Roads Proliferate - And A Backlash Builds," for an interesting story about red-state Texans getting fed-up with right-wing-created toll booths and traffic congestion.

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