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Infrastructure Plan

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Infrastructure Plan
Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, March 21, 2021 11:14 AM

This is what I heard or read so far via various sources:

$2 trillion or greater bill, targeted for passage by July 4th of this year......

  • Target to make all commuter trains powered by Electricity or other clean burning energy by a specific date.    Along with buses and cars.
  • Targeted freight rail transit improvement project grants.
  • Rail Bridge replacement grants (nationwide).
  • Bill funding would be a mixture of increased taxes, federal to private matching funds, federal tax incentives.

This is all tentative none of it is final obviously as there is no bill yet.   It's just talk.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, March 21, 2021 12:17 PM

I wonder how much they can get done for $2-trillion.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, March 21, 2021 2:36 PM

Euclid

I wonder how much they can get done for $2-trillion.

Agree, especially with the first bullet point.   However, maybe they intended to convey they would get started on a long term goal?     Will have to see the final bill.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:12 AM

For Two Trillion dollars they could very easily rebuild the Milwaukee Road's Pacific Coast Extension!  It would cost only a fraction of that!

Most of the the plan actually spends little on real "infrastructure" and even less still on transportation.

The very word "infrastructure" has become highly politicized.  This really isn't much of and infrastructure bill at all.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:19 AM

Fred M Cain
The very word "infrastructure" has become highly politicized.  This really isn't much of and infrastructure bill at all.

What hasn't been politicized these days?

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Posted by diningcar on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:35 AM

Politicians are like diapers - we should change them often and for the same reason.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:56 AM

diningcar

Politicians are like diapers - we should change them often and for the same reason.

 

 

HA ! ! ! ! Good one !

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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:21 PM

diningcar

Politicians are like diapers - we should change them often and for the same reason.

Something we're finding out more and more lately...

This sounds like a classic "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" scenario.

 

 

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Posted by Backshop on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:29 PM

Everyone needs to read our favorite "people should ride trains everywhere" advocate's blog.  He doesn't think the infrastructure plan goes far enough. As biased as he is, I'm surprised that anyone would hire him as a "consultant", unless they just want an echo chamber.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 6:34 PM

Fred M Cain
For Two Trillion dollars they could very easily rebuild the Milwaukee Road's Pacific Coast Extension!  It would cost only a fraction of that!

Trillion dollars won't go that far to fix up existing lines for passenger/freight expansion, much less build any HSR.  Why should they waste money on rebuilding an un-needed, obsolete, high cost line?

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 7:54 PM

Fred M Cain
For Two Trillion dollars they could very easily rebuild the Milwaukee Road's Pacific Coast Extension!  It would cost only a fraction of that!

The PCE wasn't viable when it was abandoned and it would be no more viable today.

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Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 8:22 PM

 

Infrastructure degrades and gets repaired every day, so let’s fix what needs fixing by responsibly getting bids on each individual project.  Why does it all have to be done in some gigantic spending spree?  That alone ought to be telling of what this is really about.

You throw $2-trillion on the table and it will be gobbled up instantly before any work gets done.  It will be long on gobble and short on infrastructure.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 8:49 PM

Euclid
You throw $2-trillion on the table and it will be gobbled up instantly before any work gets done.

Well here's the thing.  Several years ago I was watching a TV special concerning decaying infrastructure (I think it was on PBS, it's been a while.) where a highway engineer was being interviewed.  As far as funding for infrastructure upkeep was concerned the man said there was ALWAYS plenty of money for upkeep but the various state and local politicians used to "pirate" it for vanity projects, such as stadiums, public buildings, or other things they could put their names on.  In a word, there was no oversight to ensure the money was being spent as it was supposed to have been.

And if there isn't going to be any oversight now, well, draw your own conclusions as to where a lot of that two trillion's going to go.

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 8:59 PM

This is the program that replace the highway bridge seen on the LaPlata, MO camera

https://www.modot.org/focus-bridges

 

A true infrastructure plan.

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 9:25 PM

Euclid
Infrastructure degrades and gets repaired every day, so let’s fix what needs fixing by responsibly getting bids on each individual project.  Why does it all have to be done in some gigantic spending spree?  That alone ought to be telling of what this is really about.

You throw $2-trillion on the table and it will be gobbled up instantly before any work gets done.  It will be long on gobble and short on infrastructure.

If the Interstate System had not been authorized as a 'big ticket boondoggle' it never would have been built.  

Imagine having to go through the voting and approval procedure for every segment to be built.

Recall my Honeymoon from 1969 - Akron to Daytona Beach and return.  Many unfinished segments on I-71, I-75, I-10 & I-95.  Run for 15 or 20 miles on the Interstate until it ended and spit you out on US 25, US 90 and a number of other two lane US highways going right through towns with stop lights and speed traps.

Trips that today, are one long driving day were two and/or three long driving days then.

One other thing, INFRASTRUCTURE is a whole lot more than just roads and railroads - The Texas Electrical Grid is a prime object of recent vintage of a failing infrastructure - that doesn't leave the other grids out of being problems in and of their own right.  The Flint Water System comes to mind, and we now have the overflowing HAZMAT drainage pond near Tampa.  Those things are ALL INFRASTRUCTURE.

Every governmental agency responsible for maintaining infrastructure always believes they can stretch another year or two out of their facility since the legislature cut their agency's budget by 20%.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:33 AM

MidlandMike

 Fred M Cain

For Two Trillion dollars they could very easily rebuild the Milwaukee Road's Pacific Coast Extension!  It would cost only a fraction of that!
 

 
Mike,
 
I guess the point I was really trying to make is that rebuilding the PCE would hardly be more wasteful than some of the other things that they plan to spend the money on.
 
Only about 10% of the $2.3 TRILLION is earmarked for transportation initiatives - including highways - that's a far cry from the revolution in American transportation that the Democrats had insinuated on during the election.
 
Probably 75% or better is going to education, medicare-related stuff, care for the "elderly and children", etc.  If the American people reach a concensus that this stuff is really necessary, fine.  But please don't call it "infrastructure".  That's just a tad bit of a stretch.
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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 8, 2021 7:34 AM

Your view of 'infrastructure' and what infrastructure really is are at variance.  

Infrastructure is both above and below ground and in many if not most cases are things we take for granted and never think about.  

A healthy and educated population is more productive and less costly than a sick and uneducated population.  A healthy working population generates tax income, a sick, unemployed population consumes taxes.

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Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, April 8, 2021 8:33 AM

Well, I anticipate that higher motorfuel taxes are a slam dunk on this? Perhaps a federal sales tax? You can just feel the guilt peddling coming to convince us all how selfish we should feel for not wanting to do our share.  I guess the idea of cutting "unnecessary" expenses so that the money can be appropriated to new priorities  only falls on us little people?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 8, 2021 9:08 AM

Convicted One
Well, I anticipate that higher motorfuel taxes are a slam dunk on this? Perhaps a federal sales tax? You can just feel the guilt peddling coming to convince us all how selfish we should feel for not wanting to do our share.

I am frankly astounded that some such coordinated effort has not been done, particularly during certain recent years where fossil-fuel use was implicitly demonized.

Not that $6.60 equivalent per gallon is impossibly costly -- Europeans in some countries were paying that decades ago.  If it shifts priorities -- fine!  Free roads as a 'right' may have practically disappeared with the elimination of the American middle class that implicitly enabled their construction and subsidized their local maintenance.

The problem, of course, is that being tagged as the source of higher gas prices has particularly been the highest-voltage of political third rails.  (Closely followed by being 'outed' as supporting any tax that can be shown to have regressive effect.)   So you will likely see this follow the time-honored Democratic practice of soaking the rich, usually with vociferous protest that the soaking will only pertain to the presumed '1-percenters' or whatever) and only come later to ease it into becoming a national institution only Draconian on the little guys.

The sure method that works is to gin up some excuse that purports to restrict supply and let "the market" run prices up to where people get used to ridiculous price levels, then quietly impose something like 'fuel surcharges' or 'windfall profits taxes' to take effect just as the artificial crisis effects end.  I doubt any current government lacks either the methods or the motivation to ensure that no adverse 'expose' of such a scheme gains any particular mainstream traction.

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Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, April 8, 2021 9:55 AM

Overmod
I am frankly astounded that some such coordinated effort has not been done, particularly during certain recent years where fossil-fuel use was implicitly demonized. Not that $6.60 equivalent per gallon is impossibly costly -- Europeans in some countries were paying that decades ago.  If it shifts priorities -- fine!  Free roads as a 'right' may have practically disappeared with the elimination of the American middle class that implicitly enabled their construction and subsidized their local maintenance. The problem, of course, is that being tagged as the source of higher gas prices has particularly been the highest-voltage of political third rails.  (Closely followed by being 'outed' as supporting any tax that can be shown to have regressive effect.)   So you will likely see this follow the time-honored Democratic practice of soaking the rich, usually with vociferous protest that the soaking will only pertain to the presumed '1-percenters' or whatever) and only come later to ease it into becoming a national institution only Draconian on the little guys. The sure method that works is to gin up some excuse that purports to restrict supply and let "the market" run prices up to where people get used to ridiculous price levels, then quietly impose something like 'fuel surcharges' or 'windfall profits taxes' to take effect just as the artificial crisis effects end.  I doubt any current government lacks either the methods or the motivation to ensure that no adverse 'expose' of such a scheme gains any particular mainstream traction.

I'd just like to say that I think your entire post is completely golden.

It's remarkable how similar our chief  thought processes are, when we are not stumbling over the few areas where we disagree.

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Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, April 8, 2021 9:59 AM

They say that Patagonia has become a mecca for "wealth  refugees". There is a lot to like down there.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, April 8, 2021 10:44 AM

BaltACD

Your view of 'infrastructure' and what infrastructure really is are at variance.  

Infrastructure is both above and below ground and in many if not most cases are things we take for granted and never think about.  

A healthy and educated population is more productive and less costly than a sick and uneducated population.  A healthy working population generates tax income, a sick, unemployed population consumes taxes.

 

Very true.  As a nation we have already fallen behind many other nations in important measures except defense spending and excessive health spending because of an inappropriate system. 

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Posted by Euclid on Thursday, April 8, 2021 1:42 PM

BaltACD

Your view of 'infrastructure' and what infrastructure really is are at variance.  

Infrastructure is both above and below ground and in many if not most cases are things we take for granted and never think about.  

A healthy and educated population is more productive and less costly than a sick and uneducated population.  A healthy working population generates tax income, a sick, unemployed population consumes taxes.

 

What infrastructure really is” is the key bone of contention in this new $2-trillion spending bill.  The meaning is being broadened to find more reasons to spend public money. 

Infrastructure traditionally means public sector facilities and systems such as roads, bridges, dams, etc.  The key feature of this new grand infrastructure plan is a broadening the definition of infrastructure to include private sector facilities and systems such as freight railroads. And also, all public sector social programs such as a guaranteed living wage, child care, free college, affordable housing, and The Green New Deal are now considered to be infrastructure. 

So the new bill will include anything that the government spends money on plus newly assumed tasks such as repairing private freight railroad bridges and more.  Spending money is the point, so the more reasons to spend it, the better. 

The actual infrastructure is now the unlimited ability to spend public money, and we must not let that crumble. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 8, 2021 2:20 PM

Euclid
 
BaltACD

Your view of 'infrastructure' and what infrastructure really is are at variance.  

Infrastructure is both above and below ground and in many if not most cases are things we take for granted and never think about.  

A healthy and educated population is more productive and less costly than a sick and uneducated population.  A healthy working population generates tax income, a sick, unemployed population consumes taxes. 

What infrastructure really is” is the key bone of contention in this new $2-trillion spending bill.  The meaning is being broadened to find more reasons to spend public money. 

Infrastructure traditionally means public sector facilities and systems such as roads, bridges, dams, etc.  The key feature of this new grand infrastructure plan is a broadening the definition of infrastructure to include private sector facilities and systems such as freight railroads. And also, all public sector social programs such as a guaranteed living wage, child care, free college, affordable housing, and The Green New Deal are now considered to be infrastructure. 

So the new bill will include anything that the government spends money on plus newly assumed tasks such as repairing private freight railroad bridges and more.  Spending money is the point, so the more reasons to spend it, the better. 

The actual infrastructure is now the unlimited ability to spend public money, and we must not let that crumble. 

We can only hope that Kalmbach IT falls into the realm of infrastructure that needs repair and improvement.

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Posted by Backshop on Thursday, April 8, 2021 2:34 PM

charlie hebdo

Very true.  As a nation we have already fallen behind many other nations in important measures except defense spending and excessive health spending because of an inappropriate system. 

 

It is because of our defense spending that other countries don't have to spend so much for themselves.  That is one thing (about the only thing) that I agreed with the former president who shall not be named.
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Posted by Convicted One on Saturday, April 10, 2021 12:37 PM

Overmod
The problem, of course, is that being tagged as the source of higher gas prices has particularly been the highest-voltage of political third rails.  (Closely followed by being 'outed' as supporting any tax that can be shown to have regressive effect.)   So you will likely see this follow the time-honored Democratic practice of soaking the rich, usually with vociferous protest that the soaking will only pertain to the presumed '1-percenters' or whatever) and only come later to ease it into becoming a national institution only Draconian on the little guys

 

Well, I think we can all rest assured that there will be dire solicitation for the money needed to pay for whatever work is to be done, I can sense the violinists already tuning their instruments in  anticipation.

The biggest objection I have is that there are already so many black holes out there where money once appropriated to worthy causes has been hijacked to fund special interests. Our system is "rigged" that way.

For example just to illustrate,  50+ years ago our local fearless leaders may have made a successful appeal to  fix our schools, and bulid new ones. Giving junior the opportunity he is "entitled to", being a well-worn heartstring always good for a tug now and then. So, they devise a $50 million program to be paid for though the sale of 30 year bonds, and pass some local tax earmarked towards  retiring the bonds. 

Once those bonds are retired, is the additional assessment retired along with it? Not that I've ever seen. In Indiana there is actually a law on the books forbidding the practice. Once the worthwhile cause has been completed,  the cash flow once dedicated to the nominal worthy cause is thereafter directed to the state's general fund, to pay for "whatever"  the authority deems fit.

They depend upon the short attention span of the payers funding the boat ride, to not notice.

I'd really like to see an honest attempt to go in and harvest  black holes such as these, before they come to me expecting more money. I know  - - "rotsa-ruck",  but I do get weary of the ongoing nature of such usury. And I'll bet the state of Indiana is far from alone in that regard. Ploys such as this have been going on for at least 100 years, yet everytime money is needed to address  pressing priorities, the violin music begins again.

Funny how whenever they want to "incentivize" some new  public-private partnership, finding the money is never a  problem,  but... when it comes time to fix potholes, or hire more firemen, the cupboard is always bare...urgently requiring my participation. Crying

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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, April 10, 2021 1:05 PM

Traditionally, spending plans are limited by the following two forces: 

  1. A sense of how much debt is safe for the country to take on.

  2. Opposition from those who have no desire for the things the money will be spent on. 

Both of these mechanisms to limit spending are suddenly gone.  That is why we are suddenly seeing trillions flying out the window. 

The spenders are not just neutral arbiters doing the Country’s bidding to buy what we need.  The spenders also spend for their own benefit.  So their motive is often just to spend money regardless of what it is spent on.  There is nothing now to prevent reckless spending that endangers the country.  And there is no end to ideas about what needs funding.   We are buying Utopia on a credit card. 

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, April 12, 2021 10:22 AM

Euclid,

I don't think it's merely an issue of adding to the national debt.  How are they ever gonna pay for all this stuff?  Taxes, yeah, and maybe sell more bonds to  the Chinese, but I think the biggest thing they're gonna do to pay for all these schemes is by simply printing money.

Printing money is something that the government can do to pay off debts that no one else can do!  It's a stealth tax because it will devalue the dollar.  So, we will pay dearly for anything and everything that we need to buy.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, April 12, 2021 7:39 PM

Can anybody say Weimar Republic?

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, April 12, 2021 7:57 PM

When you owe the bank $100 you have a problem.  When you owe the bank $30 trillion the BANK has a problem!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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