Monday, August 27, 2007

Hmmmm, so maybe the roads aren't falling apart after all?

Very interesting commentary here, about the state of the US infrastructure. As usual, it appears the initial panic over the bridge collapse in Minnesota was overblown, underlined by this gem:
as far back as April 1982, The Reader's Digest had an article entitled "Cures for America's Dying Highways". This concern led to a series of Federal acts over the subsequent 20 years that tried to help address safety and efficiency issues by providing additional funding for maintenance of roads and bridges
So its been a 'crisis' for a while. Well if you step back and think about the number of times you read a newspaper article about someone killed by faulty infrastructure, versus the number of times you read about someone killed by a drunk driver, head-on collision, or encounter with a lightpole, you quickly realize this is yet another societal overreaction. I think its probably because we are simply much more concerned when something we trust, something where its reliability underpins our everyday safety fails. While its nice for these stuffy old elitists to think rationally about issues such as highway safety, the fact remains that the average person knows bad drivers are a risk, and goes about his every day business knowing that fact. His world is deeply rocked, however, when the basic foundations of his everyday life (the trust he places in banal infrastructure), is shaken by events such as the bridge collapse.

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