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Re: Bridges

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The issue it too complex and the dollars too large for most Americans to comprehend, and the payback in safety is too small - statistically speaking - to matter. Just ask anyone required pay for several Simpson shear walls to a residence that looks a lot like the house down the street that was built 30 years ago without them and is still standing. Humans are bad at judging long term risk and/or low probability events.

One solution : Raise the federal gas tax to $4/gal - give $3 of the money straight to the state where it was collected (fuel consumption is somewhat proportional to road wear), and split the other $1 up evenly between the states based on land area (to compensate for large, sparsely populated states which will still need environmental deterioration related maintenance).

Not only does it pay for the system based on usage (a sound Republican value), but it penalizes those who use more fuel than is necessary (a sound Democratic value) and provides an opportunity for higher cost, new fuel alternatives to compete with gasoline/diesel (social engineering via the tax code, something every politician seems to get perverse pleasure out of).

Not that I'm in favor of such a move. I would prefer dropping all other taxes in favor of a 2-4% gross receipts tax for every entity with a TIN, no deductions, exclusions, or alternates. But that would put nearly every tax accountant out of business, piss of every builder, realtor, and mortgage broker, and would prevent congress from sticking their nose in everyones business (and personal finances). I'm not holding my breath on that one either.


Bill Polhemus wrote:
I'll bet the gusset plates on that Minneapolis bridge were installed by terrorists.

There was an article somewhere recently that engineers make good terrorists...or something like that. ;-)

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