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Re: shuttle disaster

On Sat, Feb 08, 2003 at 01:31:31AM -0600, DvB wrote:
> Paul Johnson <baloo@ursine.dyndns.org> writes:
> > On Fri, Feb 07, 2003 at 11:24:41PM -0600, Ron Johnson wrote:
> > > How much are the city/state/feds subsidizing TriMet?
> > 
> > Right now, about half.  Normally, nearly nothing or less.  TriMet only
> > goes net-loss and extra subsidy when it's building new rail lines, but
> > usually makes headway for a year after that to then break roughly
> > even.  Yellow Line is expected to open in May, IIRC.
> > 
> To add to that, how much of the US Interstate Highway system is
> currently subsidized by city/state/fed governments?
> To answer my own question, I believe the figure is pretty close to
> 100% (correct me if I'm wrong). What's more, I believe less than half
> of the funding comes from fuel taxes.
> Does this make the Interstate Highway system a failure that should be
> done away with?

If the purpose of the Interstate Highway system was to provide
citizens with a fun way to drive around the country, yes.

However, there's ample evidence that the Interstate Highway System
(wait: make that the _Eisenhower_ Interstate Highway System) was
designed for two, maybe three purposes:

1) Provide a robust road network for national defense purposes.  This
probably made a lot more sense in 1950.

2) Give the government something to spend money on as the post WWII
economy was not the best.

3) Give Dwight D. Eisenhower something to put his name on; here in the
plains states that seems to be an overwhelming success.

Most everyone knows this, but it's very probable that if Eisenhower
hadn't been so impressed with the German Autobahns and if he hadn't
become president, the push to quickly create a nationwide highway
network would not have come so quickly to fruition.

If you've ever had the chance to navigate the Interstate Highway
system, it's interesting to note that in many places it would never
have been built today due to environmental concerns.  The amount of
earth moved in some places is incredible.  New highway construction
must pass a much more rigorous set of standards (and this is a good
thing).  The engineering that has gone into the system is incredible;
I'm especially interested to see what new ideas they have every 5-8
years here in the plains states to deal with frost heaving and in some
cases, lack of decent substructure (the Red River Valley, or the
Glacial Lake Agassiz basin has tens of meters of clay before you even
get close to bedrock.  North Dakota has basically given up on concrete
highways for some sections of I-29 and uses asphalt instead since
repairs were so frequent).

Nathan Norman - Incanus Networking mailto:nnorman@incanus.net
  For myself, I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at
  the results of this evening's experiments.  Astonished at the wonderful
  power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous
  and bad music may be put on record forever.
          -- Sir Arthur Sullivan, message to Edison, 1888

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