Author Topic: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less  (Read 5917 times)

Timodeus

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Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« on: October 19, 2015, 02:59:09 PM »

teadirt

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2015, 03:39:12 PM »
Oh, and so are bad credit ratings for states.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/19/hate-potholes-blame-this-group-of-drivers.html

Millennial hate article of the day. As a millennial (I think?), it's starting to get old.

Just curious, but how do "young people who don't drive" make up "this group of drivers" that I am supposed to blame for all the potholes?
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slugline

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2015, 03:58:42 PM »
Because we all know the Millenials used time travel to enact the rising CAFE standards and a gas tax that is fixed per-gallon no matter what the price may be. . . .

scottish

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2015, 04:04:26 PM »
I love Standard & Poors.   Up next:   "Teenagers responsible for thousands of lost jobs as tobacco companies cut back."
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nereo

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2015, 04:27:47 PM »
classic example of drawing the wrong conclusion from an important set of data.
We've got an interesting problem insofar as we've built a country around the automobile and to date we've funded it in large part on fuel taxes. Now we've got a wicked-expensive infrastucture problem coupled with a societal shift away from a car-centric lifestyle.
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Tjat

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2015, 06:17:23 PM »
This is the same nonsense rationale one would use if they were to blame underfunded public schools on people contributing to much to their pre-tax 401k...

MgoSam

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2015, 06:26:04 PM »
Seriously they need to change the gas tax. It's way too low. Heck, even trucker associations are calling for it to go up.

gimp

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2015, 06:56:37 PM »
Gas tax is problematic.

Gas tax used to be a great proxy of miles driven and wear put on roads (larger vehicles burn more gas and stress the road more), but that's changing. The government in general pushes for higher efficiency standards - less gas burned - and gas-less alternatives. But the government generally uses the gas tax to fund roads.

And it will be a cold day in hell before I allow anyone to track my mileage directly to determine my fair share of road tax.

So fuck it, we pay an income tax, we pay a consumption tax, take road funding out of that. Gas tax is just getting stupid.

Travis

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2015, 10:19:01 PM »
The fuel tax is under-strength by at least half of the required budget, and this is hardly a new problem.  The evil financially and environmentally conscious millenials were still working on not falling off their first bicycles when the costs of the highways were outstripping the fuel tax forcing Congress to appropriate extra funds each year - and it's still not enough to cover the needs of our infrastructure.  Most state governments have been the same with their transportation budgets.  It is beyond preposterous to blame someone for the insolvency of a system that they are barely using and yet still pay for the share they are using it when the system itself is broken.
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paddedhat

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2015, 05:01:59 AM »
Pennsylvania finally got to the point where the largely rural based, right wing conservative legislative body was told that if they continued to starve the road infrastructure to death, the blood of those killed in the coming bridge collapses would be on their hands. We are near the top when it comes to the number of state owned bridges and miles of roads (8000 bridges and 44K miles of roads IIRC) We are (were) at the bottom when it comes to the condition of these assets.

A  year or two ago,  they voted for a large, gradually implemented increase in fuel taxes. Naturally, all the extremist talking heads went nuts, and most of my rural neighbors whined about stupid shit, and spewed all their well rehearsed Faux News talking points. Fast forward to this construction season and it looks like we live in a different state. There are rebuilding projects everywhere, and it doesn't seem like you can travel more than ten minutes on a secondary highway without construction delays for repaving or bridge replacement. After decades of ignorance, I hope the state government and our drivers are smart enough to keep this momentum going. Currently our local gas prices are a whole $0.10 a gallon higher than the national average and, contrary to all the predictions, the world didn't end.

Rollin

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2015, 06:06:25 AM »
Yes, the potholes have nothing to do with multi-ton vehicles travelling our roadways.  My secret guess is that it is all those bicyclists that don't cover their fair share of taxes.  Oh, I forgot, gas taxes don't even come close to 100% of what gets spent on our roadways.  Silly me.
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MgoSam

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2015, 08:43:11 AM »
Also does't driving less mean that there are less potholes formed?

Jack

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2015, 09:01:27 AM »
Yes, the potholes have nothing to do with multi-ton vehicles travelling our roadways.  My secret guess is that it is all those bicyclists that don't cover their fair share of taxes.  Oh, I forgot, gas taxes don't even come close to 100% of what gets spent on our roadways.  Silly me.

As a cyclist, I really look forward to being assessed for my "fair share." I expect a refund!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2015, 09:20:01 AM »
Raise the gas tax, raise the registration fee of vehicles in a quadratic or cubic function of the vehicle weight, and prevent any general funds from being used to pay for roads.

You want a car-centric life, fine, here's the real cost.

Rollin

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2015, 09:21:47 AM »
Raise the gas tax, raise the registration fee of vehicles in a quadratic or cubic function of the vehicle weight, and prevent any general funds from being used to pay for roads.

You want a car-centric life, fine, here's the real cost.

Oh, and reduce the billions of oil industry subsidies while you are at it.  Easy peasy...
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HairyUpperLip

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2015, 11:32:04 AM »
How come no blame for using asphalt over concrete? Wouldn't concrete hold up better over time and require less maintenance?

nereo

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2015, 11:37:07 AM »
How come no blame for using asphalt over concrete? Wouldn't concrete hold up better over time and require less maintenance?
I'm fairly certain the answer to this is 'installation costs'. Seeing what just the cost of concrete is for the foundation for a single home I shudder to think what building all of our 4 million miles of roads in the US with concrete would cost.
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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2015, 02:03:35 PM »
How come no blame for using asphalt over concrete? Wouldn't concrete hold up better over time and require less maintenance?
I'm fairly certain the answer to this is 'installation costs'. Seeing what just the cost of concrete is for the foundation for a single home I shudder to think what building all of our 4 million miles of roads in the US with concrete would cost.
My guess would be: rebar. Anything that has fully loaded tractor-trailer units driving over it needs to be heavily reinforced. Material prices would be sky high.
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Travis

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2015, 08:50:07 PM »
Pennsylvania finally got to the point where the largely rural based, right wing conservative legislative body was told that if they continued to starve the road infrastructure to death, the blood of those killed in the coming bridge collapses would be on their hands. We are near the top when it comes to the number of state owned bridges and miles of roads (8000 bridges and 44K miles of roads IIRC) We are (were) at the bottom when it comes to the condition of these assets.

Glad to see someone got their act together.  I saw a documentary a couple years ago detailing how when you include roads, bridges, water, and electrical, we're about $2 trillion behind the curve nation wide.  Most government officials like to pretend there's no such thing as maintenance and after you build something it will last forever.
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less4success

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2015, 09:27:59 PM »
Millennial hate article of the day.

This is a great idea for a blog.

Cheryl

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2015, 10:17:40 AM »
I can't get over how ridiculous this is.  I keep trying to come up with a good ridiculous metaphor, but I've got nothing that beats what the article actually says.

One Noisy Cat

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2015, 07:46:20 PM »
   I've done some long distance driving on trips from New York to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware this year. My impression is that roads are in pretty good shape, save one rural road in New Hampshire back in April when snow was still there.

    Obviously you have to do some preventive maintenance on infrastructure. But what happened to that $800 billion "Shovel ready jobs" law passed in 2009? Or all that money states got from tobacco companies in the late 1990s? Or how much are construction costs increased by the Davis-Bacon act? How much theft occurs on construction sites? Any feather-bedding as in "The Sopranos"? Or 30 years ago there were also stories about "crumbling infrastructure", did those crumble. I'm all for good roads, trains, bike paths etc and will pay for it. But it should be done right and efficiently.

sol

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2015, 08:12:42 PM »
I also blame millenials for making social security and medicare insolvent through decreased tax revenues.  How dare they not earn as much money as their parents and grandparents?

No Name Guy

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2015, 08:15:25 PM »
Stupid article.

No....if there are potholes, it's 100% due to the gross incompetence of the various Government agencies, not due to a lack of gas tax revenue.

Exhibit A on the above assertion: 

The replacement State Highway 520 bridge linking Seattle to the various cities to the east of Lake Washington.

Cost of the original bridge:  21 million in then (1963) year dollars.

Cost fo the new bridge:  Current estimate is 4,650 million (e.g. 4.65 Billion with a B).

Using the BLS inflation calculator for 1963 (original bridge opening) to 2015, 21 million in then year dollars is the same as 163.3 million in 2015 dollars.

So, lets do the math on how much more expensive the replacement bridge is versus the new bridge back then:

4650 / 163.3 = 28.47 times.

OK, so I could see if the new bridge was wider / had more lanes - yeah, 6 total versus 4 (the extra lanes being for transit, but I don't think the local bus agency is paying for them).  So let's factor on to the original bridge....3x the cost for the 1.5x the number of lanes....just to be generous.

Built to modern seismic standards.....ok, Lets say this doubles the cost.

And then what?  Where is the rest of the 20x plus cost versus the original bridge going to?

Up thread, someone mentioned feather bedding / corruption...yeah, you can bet!!  But it isn't mobsters raking it in, but corrupt, lazy ass government officials protecting their cushy gig.  The original bridge took 3 years to complete.  The current boondoggle has been going on a lot longer than that already....and we're still more than a year from opening.

Exhibit B to my above assertion:  The Seattle waterfront tunnel.  Google the joke yourself.

And feel free to think of any local instances of gross incompetence and corruption in your local government transportation agency.

The difference between the Government and private corporations (Wall Street bastards excepted) is that when private corporations are complete and utter fuck ups, they go out of business, are bankrupted, assets are seized and sold with proceeds paid to creditors.  When Government's are complete and utter fuck ups, the bastards raise taxes and spend even MORE money.

sol

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2015, 08:27:22 PM »
When Government's are complete and utter fuck ups, the bastards raise taxes and spend even MORE money.

If only there were some kind of productive proposed solution to this debacle. 

A famous ginger once said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."

I'm open to proposed alternatives, NNG.  In the meantime, I hope you vote.

Jack

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2015, 09:13:16 PM »
Stupid article.

No....if there are potholes, it's 100% due to the gross incompetence of the various Government agencies, not due to a lack of gas tax revenue.

Exhibit A on the above assertion: 

The replacement State Highway 520 bridge linking Seattle to the various cities to the east of Lake Washington.

Cost of the original bridge:  21 million in then (1963) year dollars.

Cost fo the new bridge:  Current estimate is 4,650 million (e.g. 4.65 Billion with a B).

Using the BLS inflation calculator for 1963 (original bridge opening) to 2015, 21 million in then year dollars is the same as 163.3 million in 2015 dollars.

So, lets do the math on how much more expensive the replacement bridge is versus the new bridge back then:

4650 / 163.3 = 28.47 times.

OK, so I could see if the new bridge was wider / had more lanes - yeah, 6 total versus 4 (the extra lanes being for transit, but I don't think the local bus agency is paying for them).  So let's factor on to the original bridge....3x the cost for the 1.5x the number of lanes....just to be generous.

Built to modern seismic standards.....ok, Lets say this doubles the cost.

And then what?  Where is the rest of the 20x plus cost versus the original bridge going to?

Up thread, someone mentioned feather bedding / corruption...yeah, you can bet!!  But it isn't mobsters raking it in, but corrupt, lazy ass government officials protecting their cushy gig.  The original bridge took 3 years to complete.  The current boondoggle has been going on a lot longer than that already....and we're still more than a year from opening.

A lot of that overhead is due to safeguards intended to prevent corruption etc.

For example, the majority of the delay in starting -- and a big chunk of cost -- is the requirement to create an environmental impact statement. Those things can take years to make just by themselves. Also note that an EIS is not just about endangered species or wetlands or whatnot. Part of the major impetus for the law requiring it were the freeway revolts of the '60s. Before then, stuff got built quick and cheap because the planners didn't have to care about the rights of the people being affected by it; they could just Eminent Domain the property and start the bulldozers.

Another thing that increases cost and delay (to an extent) is competitive bidding. Back in the '50s, the mayor would just give the contract to his cousin Jim-Bob, and that would be that. Now, we have laws mandating procurement processes such that the government has to solicit competitive bids. Not only does it take the government time (and money) to write up the RFP, it takes the contractors time (and money) to respond to it, even when they don't win. That time and money gets priced into their bids on other projects.

Third, I'm having trouble finding statistics to prove it, but I'm pretty sure that the price of building materials like steel and concrete, as well as the fuel to transport them to the construction site, have increased faster than inflation too.

Finally, there are also higher labor law standards for all the workers involved (in both the construction and resource extraction industries), as well as higher environmental standards in mining.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm sure government incompetence is still a factor. But I don't think it's nearly as large a factor as you believe.

nereo

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2015, 08:12:04 AM »
Stupid article.

No....if there are potholes, it's 100% due to the gross incompetence of the various Government agencies, not due to a lack of gas tax revenue.

Exhibit A on the above assertion: 

The replacement State Highway 520 bridge linking Seattle to the various cities to the east of Lake Washington.

Cost of the original bridge:  21 million in then (1963) year dollars.

Cost fo the new bridge:  Current estimate is 4,650 million (e.g. 4.65 Billion with a B).

Using the BLS inflation calculator for 1963 (original bridge opening) to 2015, 21 million in then year dollars is the same as 163.3 million in 2015 dollars.

So, lets do the math on how much more expensive the replacement bridge is versus the new bridge back then:

4650 / 163.3 = 28.47 times.

OK, so I could see if the new bridge was wider / had more lanes - yeah, 6 total versus 4 (the extra lanes being for transit, but I don't think the local bus agency is paying for them).  So let's factor on to the original bridge....3x the cost for the 1.5x the number of lanes....just to be generous.

Built to modern seismic standards.....ok, Lets say this doubles the cost.

And then what?  Where is the rest of the 20x plus cost versus the original bridge going to?

Up thread, someone mentioned feather bedding / corruption...yeah, you can bet!!  But it isn't mobsters raking it in, but corrupt, lazy ass government officials protecting their cushy gig.  The original bridge took 3 years to complete.  The current boondoggle has been going on a lot longer than that already....and we're still more than a year from opening.

A lot of that overhead is due to safeguards intended to prevent corruption etc.

For example, the majority of the delay in starting -- and a big chunk of cost -- is the requirement to create an environmental impact statement. Those things can take years to make just by themselves. Also note that an EIS is not just about endangered species or wetlands or whatnot. Part of the major impetus for the law requiring it were the freeway revolts of the '60s. Before then, stuff got built quick and cheap because the planners didn't have to care about the rights of the people being affected by it; they could just Eminent Domain the property and start the bulldozers.

Another thing that increases cost and delay (to an extent) is competitive bidding. Back in the '50s, the mayor would just give the contract to his cousin Jim-Bob, and that would be that. Now, we have laws mandating procurement processes such that the government has to solicit competitive bids. Not only does it take the government time (and money) to write up the RFP, it takes the contractors time (and money) to respond to it, even when they don't win. That time and money gets priced into their bids on other projects.

Third, I'm having trouble finding statistics to prove it, but I'm pretty sure that the price of building materials like steel and concrete, as well as the fuel to transport them to the construction site, have increased faster than inflation too.

Finally, there are also higher labor law standards for all the workers involved (in both the construction and resource extraction industries), as well as higher environmental standards in mining.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm sure government incompetence is still a factor. But I don't think it's nearly as large a factor as you believe.

well said Jack.  I'll also add onto the EIS part since that was a major part of my job when I lived in California.  In the "good ol' days' that No Name Guy referenced it was horrific where and how construction projects dealt with their surroundings.  To this day CalTRANS is still cleaning up these colossal mistakes.  I was often shocked at what they were allowed to do.  Roads were built right through natural drainage areas with no regard what would happen when above-average rains came.  "side-casting" of hillsides were dumped into rivers and lakes.  Bridges built over meandering streams were 'armored' so that the stream couldn't meander - resulting in dangerous undercutting of the bridge. 

Seeing how projects were carried out before the 1970s just makes me cringe.  I'm all for eliminating corruption and waste, but dear god let's never go back to our building practices 40+ years ago.
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gimp

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2015, 01:01:56 PM »
That and, you know, all the people dying during construction. I hear safety gear is expensive.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2015, 09:32:57 AM »
Oh, and so are bad credit ratings for states.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/19/hate-potholes-blame-this-group-of-drivers.html

OH CRY ME A FUCKING RIVER!

How about all car drivers pay their genuinely fair share of costs to the roads and the environment? Sounds great to me... *cackles evilly*

runningthroughFIRE

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Re: Potholes Blamed on Driving Less
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2015, 03:56:48 PM »
I read this thinking the Onion stepped up their game.  I was actually pretty impressed and amused until I realized this wasn't from the Onion...

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