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Re: Bridges

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Wow, a calm, cool, dispassionate, levelheaded, mature discussion of a political issue -- albeit in the guise of infrastructure funding/maintenance -- on this *engineering* list; I thot I'd never see the day.  :)


In a message dated 1/31/08 4:53:34 AM, seaint2(--nospam--at) writes:
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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