If You Thought the Bridge-to-Nowhere Was Bad…

Wednesday Waste | August 7, 2013

Back in 2003, the Department of Transportation’s Marine Administration (MARAD) began supervising a modernization project for the Port of Anchorage. Work was supposed to be completed in 2005, but eight years later, the work is still unfinished. Not only is the port still incomplete, the projected cost has exploded from $211 million to over $1 billion, according to The Washington Times.*


How did it happen? A Department of Transportation Inspector General’s report released on August 2, 2013 cited lack of oversight and mismanagement of port contracts. The Times reported that MARAD had “largely washed its hands of the construction, relying instead on local authorities to complete the work,” which contributed to the overall problem. The mismanagement of contracts also resulted in additional costs to taxpayers to the tune of $11.3 million after the lead contractor sued the government “for delayed work and shifting contact requirements.”


Even more disturbing, MARAD was still awarded similar projects in Hawaii and Guam, after these problems had become apparent. The Inspector General’s report offered a detailed outline of MARAD’s shortcomings, which drew a response from the acting maritime administrator, Paul Jaenichen:

“MARAD no longer operates in this manner. This administration has taken action to increase oversight, assign dedicated project and program staff and increase its level of engagement with local partners.”


It’s just a shame that it took ten years and $1 billion for MARAD to start making changes.


Are you interested in more stories about waste and inefficiency? Check out the the underground cavern where the federal government processes retirement claims.
*Updated to clarify projected budget figures.

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61 Responses to If You Thought the Bridge-to-Nowhere Was Bad…

  1. David Ginther says:

    These Create Jobs, that is what the Primary reason for them is for..
    and t Help Populate these Parts of the Country..
    You want Everyone to Have to Live where you live?

    You think White people want to have to Live where the High Crime Parts of Cities Are? with the Minorities?
    And doesn't this $ , that is White Taxpayers Money, going to White Communities and Paying Fellow White People?

    And If we Save MOney on one Project, they will use that $ for another, will they not?

    Or use that Money to Give it To WELFARE and Give it to other Countries for their WELFARE

    Ask an American Taxpayer how do they like their Taxes paying for Welfare ?

    and to further become a Welfare Society like EUROPE has become..

    And how much of the Billons paid for this Port of Anchorage has come back in Payroll Taxes?
    In Fed and State Taxes?
    And has gone to SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES?
    Ans? At least 1/3rd over 33%

    A $759 Deficeit? Divide that by 350 Million Americans
    That is Only about $2,170 in taxes for each..
    While Gov't allows $500 Billion a Yr In Tax Deductions to Allow Companies to Hide Tax Free $ into Their Employees PENSION Plans.. and ofr over 50 yrs, allowed Companies to Tax Deduct Paying for their Employees Health Insurance, but the Employees didn't have to pay Income taxes for getting the Employes Income Benefit !

    • Mike says:

      As an employee who has worked with the government for several years and having dealt with contracts, I am very familiar with the situation here. The problem with cost overruns has nothing to do with "greedy contractors trying to milk the government". It has everything to do with poor management in govenment and indecisive leadership that know nothing about their area of expertise. The forever changing requirements is just a reflection of that. Requirements often ends in this pie in the sky effort expected from the lowest bidder. Of course more expectations means more costs.

      • Michael says:

        Considering that all the money ends up in the pockets of contractors, your point is absurd.

        • Doug says:

          You are not thinking his comment through. The contractors only get paid what the government contract requires and only build what the government contract requires. I have seen it too.

          Government contracts commonly include very detailed, very specific specifications that require customized products and work. For example, metal two-by-fours used in commercial construction come in standard lengths. Some foolish bureaucrat will specify a non standard length. The contractor argues that it will cost more, and the bureaucrats signs off instead changing the specification to use standard products. The metal stud manufacturer will, of course, charge double or triple for custom lengths just like they would for any other customer. Bureaucratic arrogance combined with incompetence is a big problem.

      • knuckler49 says:

        How can "indecisive leadership know nothing about their AREA of EXPERTISE?" you can See more at: http://www.bankruptingamerica.org/building-ports-in-alaska-is-extra-tough-wednesday-waste/?utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral#.U1IyBmRdW0c

      • Kansas Tumbleweed says:

        From my own experience, I totally agree. Cost over-runs come from a variety of sources – archaeological artifacts in the excavation (immediate shutdown), a new endangered species, activist injunctions and so on. However, the biggest source of cost over-runs in my opinion are the politicians who see the best use of public funds as buying their re-election. Adequately funding day-today repair and upkeep of public facilities does not buy near as many votes as big renovation projects once the lack of upkeep has accumulated to the point of getting public attention. Then the politicians hear from contributors in the middle of a project about 'nice things to add'. When told how this 'scope creep' will cost in time and money, the politico finds the money somewhere. The project management gets blamed for the delays and the cost overrun. The politician gets re-elected. For a prime examples, Google the Capitol Visitor Center and the Hoover Dam Visitor Center.

    • Mike says:

      Wow, I dont even know what to say to that. I'm not sure why you're so fixated on white America. Maybe if you actually looked at the statistics, you would know that most of those people on welfare are from white America, not the minorities.

      The money that is being given out isnt being given is money we dont have in the first place, so I find it funny that you suggest we should indebt the people who pay taxes in this country to create jobs. Chances are that the one paying taxes dont have a problem with finding a job. They dont need someone to make a job up just so they can be employed. They probably got an education and have skills that are in demand.

      I'm glad that we can agree that we should not be like Europe, the welfare state, but when you suggest that it's our governments job to create jobs, you are essentially thinking just like the Europeans you are speaking against. "It is the government's job to create jobs for the people" said no founding father EVER! Does the constitution say anything about creating jobs?? No.

      • Dennis Bartlett says:

        Mike , You're right of course but some people believe it to be true . As a retired Marina Construction owner I know a bit of what goes on . I can tell you that overruns never went into my pocket . Yes it did keep my men working but my cut was minimal and not worth my efforts ..
        I didn't finish a job on time I was fined up to 5 grand a day on some jobs .
        If Michael wants to get into technicalities I can do that but he won't understand it , guaranteed !

      • Actually if you look at national statistics and poverty charts you'll see that Minorities are in fact leading the welfare consumption bracket… have a swell day

        • Dan says:

          What difference does it make? White Americans, black Americans, Latino Americans, we are all trying to contribute to the good of the country. In order to distract from the big picture, someone may mention food stamps. But food stamps are a drop in the bucket compared to all the other expenses, which go all over the place — from subsidies to farmers, to money to repair bridges, to bailouts for big corporations. If someone thinks minorities have been pampered (and I'm not suggested you do), then they are nuts, frankly.

        • patrick says:

          Actually your wrong…there are more white people on welfare and receiving public assistance than blacks. You have a swell day too…

          Did you know also that 8 of the 10 states receiving the most federal dollars are red states?

      • Jeffery says:

        The founding fathers were 100% behind the opportunities of capitalism. "Social Welfare" and the the General Welfare are two completely different concepts. Constitutionally General welfare was Mutual defense, and the Interstate commerce clause, which simply told the FEDS to NOT allow US states to tax each other (protectionism) but allows them to TAX imports from Non-US 'states'. That is promoting the General Welfare. The "pursuit of happiness' is the doorway to opportunity, providing what others are willing to pay for. Happiness isn't guaranteed, but each of us is free to chase it through our own labors.

      • R Austin says:

        "To promote the general welfare" IS in the document if you'd trouble to read it.

      • doug says:

        Mike I do not know where you live, But ! Here in Michigan A high majority of our welfare is Blacks, Latinos, and Illegals. Nothing against them Buddy ! But these are the FACTS !

        • Jed Taylor says:

          I am just going to guess Mike is from some bastion of hope like CO with more MM stores than starbucks. Pass me the doobbie man this conversation is a bummer

    • p3orion says:

      "A $759 [billion] Deficeit? [sic] Divide that by 350 Million Americans
      That is Only about $2,170 in taxes for each.."

      That's the deficit, NOT the entire budget. So that means $2170 (plus interest) in taxes that will have to be collected later on from our children and grandchildren. Of course, you're dividing by 350 million Americans, but just about half have NO NET tax liability at all, so the actual bill will be much higher.

      Of course, as Dick Cheney inelegantly said, deficits don't matter, and he was right that they don't in themselves, as long as the economy is growing at a brisk enough pace that their annual addition to the national debt does not take an ever-increasing percentage of the federal budget.

      But thanks to the meager growth of the obama "recovery" economy (some 2.6%, a quarter of which was due to Obamacare-caused health cost increases) we cannot afford an eternity of $759 billion deficits (obama's smallest so far, larger than ANY EVER RECORDED up to 2008.)

    • dianna says:

      it think in your opening statement you sound like a racist.. Nobody wants to live in crime ridden areas.. Period..

    • Randy says:

      Only $2,170 for each man, woman and child to cover the deficit? The rest of the $3.6 trillion federal budget costs each of us another $8,117. So it costs a household of four more than $41,000 a year to keep the current federal government going — but wait, 47% of us pay nothing so the remaining 53% are on the hook for $77,600 a year for a family of 4….

      • R Austin says:

        47% are probably children, retired or possibly stay at home moms. War widows , their children and students are also in that group.
        You are free to leave if you wish. Many of us wish you would. Keep your money. It's all that really matters.

      • Jed Taylor says:

        After multiple years of Obama math you got to give a guy a break. The real figures are never on MSNBC or the lib talking points, what are you trying to do here? He was clearly expressing his "ideal" debt figures, just like Obama governs toward a higher ideal without touching base on reality.

    • clifford heverly says:

      "MARAD" sounds like another government mess, where people go to work to collect a check and a pension, it is unfortunate that none of these people are directly accountable for there negligence, however I would much prefer that the $2170 stayed in my pocket instead of being squandered.

    • Jeffery says:

      IF the primary reason was to create jobs, then they would be continuing simply to provide those jobs. Something that is called "make-work", and was what happened in the Great Depression. The Obama Administration isn't about making work. If it were we wouldn't have seen up to 40% of Americans out of work, and many giving up on finding jobs. The Obama Administration is about socialism and dependence on Government, in other words Individual control.

      The problem with projects like this one is absolute ignorance of what will be needed to accomplish the job. They let contracts which will not allow the job to be done, because of poor planning, and expect the job to get finished under that deflated budget. This happens because they rush into things without fully understanding the process, these projects are not initiated by those who know what it will take, but are managed politically by chosen persons who have no EXPERTISE.

      These political hacks literally guess about what it will cost, and demand that the project commence under these ludicrous estimates. The contract holders are savvy too, they know once they get started, that the additional funds will have to come. So they accept under-funded contracts just to establish that they will get the contracts and the future spending that will have to come. They under-bid, get under budgeted, and in the end extend their involvement.

      • R Austin says:

        The WPA , Social Security, Public Education, Interstate highways and the Hoover Dam are all socialist. If you don't feel a part of society keep knocking socialism.

      • patrick says:

        "Obama Administration is about socialism and dependence on Government "

        Actually not… why don't some corporations who are now enjoying the highest corporate profits in history (over $ 1.9 trillion annualized) actually hire some people? Fact is they are too busy collecting cash…and paying their executives more money than executives in any other region of the world. Sometimes 1,000 times what the lowest paid worker in their company earns.

        Obama can't just wave his hand and order companies to do that… they have the cash so do the hiring. Could it be that there isn't demand maybe? Well guess what… if more people were working there probably would be!

        • Jed Taylor says:

          If it were not so monumental I would spend the next 365 days trying to explain the source of these line item accounting based profits to you but clearly, you lack business experiance to understand the difference between the supply / demand curve. Companies do not hire to spend cash or create jobs. They hire to increase product output to satify demand and make greater or increased profits. Regardless of what Obama or his talking points say – demand has not increased.
          Those evil corporations also have untold amounts of offshore capital that could be invested here except that Obama and the Dems can't understand that they (the evil corp's) will not pay a 35% toll to do so. It is all about "ideals" instead of pragmatic actions.
          Pragmatism is not part of our agenda until after November

    • Jackson says:

      Racist much?

    • mds says:

      I have found the ultimate escape hatch from Obama and all like him who will follow. This is no longer the USA we all knew & love.
      The answer is 30 mi. South of San Diego. Rosarito Beach Mexico. Live in paradise for about 85% less than in the US.
      3br house overlooking the pacific, with San Diego weather at about $300K or rent at $1300 a month.
      $60 Electric, $50 Gas, Taxes on ownership about $800 a year.
      See you in Mexico!!!!!

    • FraudMeter says:

      waste billions in taxpayer money in alaska so they can get more "payroll taxes"???? maybe the funniest thing I've read on the internet in 3 years!! keep up the comedy–maybe do this act in Vegas!!!

  2. Deficits in present Admin are due to huge unfunded Iraq War much less Afghanistan much less huge Homeland Security BS buildups much less unfunded "Plan D" prescription drug giveaway to the phrama giants coupled with the Oligarchy "trickle down" jobs creation mostly being done over seas, but let us blame the black janitor from Kenya hired by the American people twice to attempt to clean up the horrendous messes left. Perchance the Repub House of "Reps" some erroneously (these days of daze) refer to as the "People's" House will one day finally create a "jobs" bill and others will stop placing misinformed blame on the White House. Just saying, a simple opine…..

    • KonaGolden says:

      Wrong. The total deficit from BOTH wars is less than $1 Trillion. Obama spent close to that just on Stimulus. When Obama took office, the deficit was about $10 Trillion, from every past president combined. It's now over $17.6 and Obama's own budget predicts it will hit $25 Trillion in just a few short years.

      Meanwhile, Harry Reid has refused to allow 11 House jobs bills to even come up for a vote in the Senate.

      You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

      • Mel Haun Sr says:

        Actually, if we count only that amount over the budgeted Iraq/Afghanistan conflict debt of 80 to100 Billion a year, plus the budgeted part, plus the Medicare part D debt, plus the 300 billion a year interest on the Reagan Bush'
        s National debt, we are talking between 3 and 5 Trillion. Long way from 1 T.

        There are NO jobs bills in the 74 bills that were sent from the house. NONE. A few that might have cost jobs about religion, 54 to kill or change the ACA, and others about women's body parts or actions..called jobs bills. Not that that matters now as any not acted on in the last session, and some were sent over too late to be acted on by the Senate, during the last session have to be redone in any case. There are however actual JOBS bills waiting for the House to act, including a vets jobs bill that was paid for.

        • kenezen says:

          I agree that both Bush and Obama contributed greatly to this ongoing and steadily worsening situation! Damaged was caused from bush not reimposing Glass Steagall and Obama for not re-energizing Industrial jobs for the Middleclass who are now fewer as a percentage of our population and without pay equal to government pay which is inherently Socialistic.

      • Randy says:

        The cost of all wars in US history from the Revolution through today, including both sides of the Civil War, in inflation adjusted dollars is a little over $7 trillion. The cost of needs-based-benefits (welfare) since Johnson's War on Poverty began in 1963 is more than $17 trillion (sound like a familiar number??? Hint: National Debt). Obama has been spending more than $1 trillion a year on more than 100 needs-based-benefit programs..(not entitlements)

        • R Austin says:

          Better hope you never need a hand in the nation you foresee. You'd be left to rot on the side of some crumbling highway somewhere and sneered at as a lazy taker by folks like you.

          • Jed Taylor says:

            up until recently those crumbling highways have been paid for by use tax on gas and will be when the gas tases are adjusted to address the issue. In this country – until Obama- no one consistantly waited for a Hand up like anywhere else in the world. If you doubt this go somewhere in the third world and think about what the poorest of our pop have to rely on. No nation on earth is as charitable as the US – Takers – Obama has redefined the word with his voting block

        • patrick says:

          …and the cost of F-35 overruns is? 163 billion… new aircraft carrier when we already have 11 is $ 12 billion… and the cost of having enough nuclear weapons to end life as we know it on this planet is several trillion over the past few decades.

          So your point on poverty is? Why shouldn't we spend money to improve peoples lives. The war on drugs started by Nixon has spent hundreds of billions as well and is an utter failure.

          • Will says:

            Au contraire … regarding the war on drugs … a great success. It vented Nixon's frustrations with the hippies for calling him on his failure to deliver on his campaign promises of 1968 to end the conflict in Vietnam … "Peace with honor" through his 'secret plan'. It also gave a lot of school yard bullies the opportunity push people around for possessing "drug paraphernalia" while creating an industry to house that portion of our population that was formerly housed in "mental institutions" and threw in a few hippies to boot.

            I'm still waiting for Reagan's vaunted Laffer Theory to deliver on its promise to increase government revenues to cover its expenses through tax cuts. Recall those heady days, tax cuts for everyone (we won't mention the largest tax hike for those who made under $60K in the history or revenue generation from wages.

    • Methos Millosotti says:

      You hit the nail on the head Robert. It amazes me how the great majority of people don't see the most obvious, and they believe the most outragous. The mainstream media and powers that be don't want us seeing the 500 pound gorilla in the room as they blame their high food costs on the foods of political ideas those of the people on the opposite side of the political isle from us (regardless of which side on the political isle we sit). No one connects the insufficient amount of funds to that which consumes the most funds. Our conversations at the dinner table at home should be about how we are the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't have health care, and yet we seem to be willing to fund being the world police and bomb to deaths hundreds of thousands of men, women and children across the globe. Because Humanity and O'Riley discuss the problems of gay marriage, the sheeple direct their anger and their blame for their woes on proponents to the issues others see as moral positions. And it works, we never discuss the powers that be for our problems. Just like they want to happen. Let the livestock be angry at one another and fight one-another, so long as they still love their farmer. Government is our farmer, our country is our farm, and we are livestock.

    • dianna says:

      I Agree that you figures are wrong.. and the Wars were pay as you go.. If you forgot.. But the dems voted for the war that they were waiting for since Clinton signed the liberation of Iraq act in 1998.. were all the democrat said until well into 2004 that SUDDAM HUSSEIN HAD weapons of mass destruction.. Chemical and biological weapons.. look it up.. on you tube.. DEMOCRATS AND WMD'S.

      • patrick says:

        It was the republicans that pushed for the war and the actual invasion… look it up. its on youtube….

    • Lloyd Williams says:

      Amen!!! Let the truth be told! Say it has it is and was.

    • Jeffery says:

      The first thing people forget is that the federal budget isn't like your household budget. The US Dollar is the trade standard globally. That gives it super-political support no other currency has. You have OTHER countries, holding US dollars, doing what they can to see that the US Dollar retains its value. Things like LENDING the US money. A devalued dollar would be a disaster to those countries, so they prop it up.

      BUT if the US Government does things like increase the monetary supply, it is counter to global stability. Every outstanding dollar is an IOU issued by our government, payable upon demand, with the agreed upon value assigned to one dollar.

      Our government gives away TRILLIONS of dollars to support faltering economies. Including our own. Where do these dollars come from? The printing press. Our government has the power to adjust its issued currency, without it being referenced to a standard of specie, such as Gold, silver or any other physical property. In other words it is backed ONLY by the US Government's ability to pay it off on demand.

      Budgets are only a PLAN on how much will be allocated. Because the Government can CREATE cash freely, these plans are always unlinked to the value of the US economy. The actual expenditures are definitely linked.

      SERVICING our debt is a major cost of our economy, Technically as the INDEX currency we should strive to be debt free, because global economies depend on OUR dollar's value. That means we should strive to REDUCE the money supply to an amount we can afford to repay, globally. WE pay for that debt with TRADE, and lately stacks of cash.

      UNFUNDED spending (Deficit) is spending more money than we have available. That means we have to come up with the money we don't have, and for the past 4 decades it has simply been printed or issued electronically to banks and countries. Virtual and paper IOUs based on our governments ability to pay on demand, in PROPERTY.

      The key things to watch for are "Trade deficits", and the amount in FEDERAL DEBT outstanding, Right now that is MORE (likely MUCH more) than $17 TRILLION.

      America is a consumer economy, we consume (import) MUCH MORE than we produce and export. That means when we PAY for something we are not trading on our international purchases with PRODUCTS others are buying from us, we are paying cash, that we have just created out of NOTHING.

      That process is inflation. Inflating money supply devalues every dollar out there. OUR GNP can barely pay the interest on our debt. Because our economy depends on not only internationally held dollars but on circulating cash as well.

      We can no longer afford to print our way out of trouble. We need to find a better EXPORT balance where US production is bought and paid for on the global economy. We can't do that without protectionism for our production.
      We have been exporting our production to outside countries because of cheaper production and labor costs. JOBS leave, and things once made here are now IMPORTS that have to be paid for.

      That means the GOVERNMENT has less employment to garnish revenues from, less sales to tax, and less GNP. A higher trade deficit, and MONEY going out faster and faster.

      That is why the US may lose the benefit of being the Global Index currency. Foreign dollars are devaluing, and we are not supporting the US dollar's value. "Free Trade" agreements are killing us.

      OVER spending at home is also killing us, we need to CONTROL our economy, because it will soon collapse if we don't.

      • richard says:

        Jeffery,no one could say it better than you just did.You hit the nail on the head.

      • Jed Taylor says:

        and the fact that all of this not so common sense will be ignored is directly below in Billy's comment "make good history" – really. I'll go on enjoying the "splendid job" economy

  3. Billy says:

    It really sickens me to hear grown men and their negative slurs—especially against the President of the United States.
    With what he was handed from the former President Bush and his cronies, I believe he is doing a splendid job and gosh does he ever have a job cleaning up the messes and carrying on business at the same time. This President will make good history thankfully.
    I am old enough to remember this and it applies more to our country than ever before—If you don't like here in the United States of America, this is for you. LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. Think about how good this country is to all with the exception of the American Native Indians.
    Ask and you shall be forgiven. Start saying things that show gratitude and thankfulness.
    This is hoping everyone will have a better view on life, what a better place to start is now!

    • KonaGolden says:

      It really sickens me to hear a small boy so deluded by the incompetence, rhetoric, and dearth of accomplishment displayed by this President. I wonder, did you say the same thing about G.W. Bush or did you whine like a little girl?

    • Grayson Wiltshirew says:

      Billy ,you keep your head deep in the sand about your Great president,and you will wake up one morning with no rights!!!!! This man is a no good communist,period

    • dianna says:

      RIGHT BILLY.. It really makes me sick when Billy makes negative slurs especially against President Bush..

    • Smitty6398 says:

      We the People own this Country. The Government consists of HIRED HELP. When the hired help can't get the job done; you hire someone else. Obama promised to end the wars, well we're still over there; trying to put an end to tribal and religious conflicts that have been on going for thousands of years; only when THEY decide to make peace and compromise their ways in order to live in peace, will the warring end. WE CANNOT make that happen as we are viewed as infidels. 55,000+ names on the Vietnam War Memorial didn't teach us anything. To make change happen, all-out WAR is needed. Much like the Gulf war; except Bush stopped the troops several hundred miles short. The coalition forces should have occupied Iraq, backed their oil tankers up to the pumps at Basra; and emptied the oilfields until the war costs were covered; then went home, leaving the countries in conflict to solve the problems of THEM being broke instead of the US and the coalition. This country is NOT the same one I grew to manhood in following WWII; our warriors have not been allowed TO WIN a WAR since then. Our government walked away from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and is on the way out of AFGHANISTAN,, on KARZAI's terms. Pakistan,supposedly our friend, harbored Bin Laden and the Taliban for years, most likely knowingly. If he's not careful, Putin will have the US standing guard at the Ukraine borders; you can bet the UN wimp leaders are not going to stand up to Russia. Oh well, why should I worry? I don't have that much time left.

    • Jeffery says:

      If you LOVE what this country once was, then DON'T leave it, restore it. #impeachobama.

      • doug says:

        Hey Jeff, Buddy you are right on, Impeachment is our only salvation, This man ? Obama is destroying America, The other day he went on a Democratic fundraising trip to California, This morning he is in Afganistan, At a cost to the Taxpayers of $174,000 per hour for Air Force One, Does he give a S–t,? NO!

  4. lex loeb says:

    We in Portland Oregon are having an expensive bridge probably from federal funds built to nowhere too. It is the Trimet Bunko Kelly Bridge named after Bunko Kelly who was a famous thug in Portland Oregon history famous for Shanghing a lot of young men in the not so distant past. It was a great name for a bridge hijacking US taxpayer money for a trolley and light rail line and pedestrians and bicycles only while out older bridges are left in a state of decay.

    • Ocklawaha says:

      Wow Lex, and EVERYONE knows trolley, light rail, bicycle and pedestrian traffic don't contribute anything to the economy of a city. Customers only arrive by automobile on highways that came down from heaven in a Oregon drizzle, free of charge and self maintaining. Never mind that user fee's only contribute 51% of the national highway system cost and that mass transit actually recovers a bit more then that from the farebox. Politically I'm somewhere to the right of Atilla The Hun, but this is one area where as a transportation planner I can say the right is wrong. Your own Randal O'Toole and Wendall Cox are quite fond of saying, 'Rail is such a 19Th Century technology,' but I've never heard them mention the Via Appia, a HIGHWAY built by the Romans 300 years before Christ. The claim that 'we can do the same thing and move even more people by bus on those 'free' public roads is also false, if it wasn't the NYC, Moscow and London Subways would have closed long ago. My favorite line is that Portland only allows 20 railcars or trains per hour (which is it really as a train of cars has a higher capacity then a single railcar?) but with staggered stops 160 buses per hour 'could be' scheduled carrying 13,000 passengers. REALLY? Thats a bus every 22.5 seconds, allowing for acceleration and deceleration, station dwell times, safe braking distance and uncontrollable delays, such as the handicapped or aged passenger, you would create the worlds slowest transit system. Sorry but rail is getting a bad rap from the very conservatives that should be cheering it on.

  5. Ryan says:


    The two idiots talking about bush wars and medicare D need to do some fact checking. If you ever decide to leave your safe little bubble come to the real world, where math exist, you can read the article I posted. The real world is where everyone else lives, with math, stats, and facts included. Then maybe you can stop sounding like tools and moronic fanboys. I doubt it, facts don't matter with your type, you just suck down the rhetoric and believe anything the demonicrats say.

  6. Pat says:

    I'm with the folks who believe that we've been sold a bill of goods. And that both sides of the political aisle are doing it. Lets ignore them for a bit.

    Jobs? Its tough out there if you don't have one. Have you figured out how to get a really good one? What are you doing about that?

    Income distribution: Have you taken a look at how much your income has risen or dropped since 1980. Have you compared it to how much incomes of those making much more than you have risen over the same time? Have you figured out what your share of the Gross National product actually is? Productivity has risen? Where's your cut? Oh and what do we do about this? Torches and pitchforks at gated communities, or something more reasonable?

    Unemployment: Do we count the millions of people we've warehoused in prisons? Have we figured out why they've landed there? Do we want to fix this or what?

    Outsourcing: Where were your shoes made?


    What happens if something horrible and very expensive happens in your family? Are you covered or not?

    As with every human endeavor, there's good and bad insurance companies. Is yours good or bad? What are you doing about it? Hint: See income distribution above.

    Global Warming: Think about what happens when you just start to heat stuff up. It starts to move doesn't it. Have you noticed the wind lately? How about that polar vortex! Have you considered the possiblity that our climate is bi-stable: cool things off you get ice ages; warm things up the right amount and you jump start an ice age. Think this is not likely? Look at the geologic record. It's mostly Ice. Personally, I'm keeping a close eye on the area just below Hudson's Bay. So again, what do we do about it? Hint: Think BIG. Think HVAC systems.. Really Really BIG HVAC systems.

    Gays: Can I mind my own business? Can they can mind theirs?

    Talk Radio: What a bunch of parrots: "Polly want a Tax Cut!" Should we ignore them?

    Taxes: pay em. get over it.

    Too Much taxes: too much for who? The top rate used to be 90% of each additional dollar. Was that a dis-incentive to grab more than your share? Did flattening the tax code and cutting taxes do what it was intended to do? see income distribution above.

    Waste and Inefficiency: Find it and eliminate it where possible (it's not always possible). Try to avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater: I'm sick of the Porta Potties instead of clean, staffed rest areas.
    Have they done that to your state yet?

    Teachers: I married one. She's taught me a LOT!

    Bad Teachers: Aren't they the ones with bad students?

    Truly Bad Teachers: Ever met one? or were they just having a bad day?

    Unions: If unionized workers get better deals, why are you not in one? see income distribution above…

    Facts: There's lots of kinds of facts. Lets stick to ones both sides of an argument can agree are true. Can we agree to suport our facts with actual calculations, and references to reliable sources? for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

    This post is long on questions and short on facts. If this bothers you, go get some answers. Better yet, think up some more interesting questions. Don't believe everything "your kind of people" tell you. Some of them are lying.

  7. Anthony Murrey says:

    Good grief, you mean people are STILL blaming Bush??? That's all you've got??? This present, so-called "president" has had five years to fix "the mess he was handed." Any idiot could have done so in that time. This economy, these deficits, these taxes belong SOLELY to Obama and no one else. He is the most incompetent "leader" this country has ever had, or the most evil, because I believe he's NOT fixing things on purpose. He wants to bring this country down to third world status. I can't believe that there's ANYONE in this country that honestly thinks Obama's doing a good job!

  8. Steve Lange says:

    The American builders mantra. Bid low… and make the profit in change orders.

  9. Albert Meyer says:

    Arguing about bridges, wars ans stimulus spending gets one nowhere quickly. here's a way of looking at the issues:

    (What Washington does not want you to know)

    If you take $100 million from the private sector and give it to Washington (as done through the tax system), Washington could use this booty to create jobs. The question is: how many jobs? Nobody knows, but the exact number doesn’t matter. Just call it “X” number of jobs.

    If we keep the $100 million in the private sector, it will also lead to job creation. Again, we do not know how many, but we can call it “Y” number of jobs.

    We are now faced with a very simple mathematical equation:

    Is X > Y?

    Or is Y > X?

    The folk who lived in the old Soviet Union, where the ruling class laid claim to virtually all of the country’s production and labor, know without a shadow of doubt that Y is always bigger than X. There was a direct correlation between the decline in jobs (increase in poverty) and growth in the size of the Soviet government. This is true across the board. Government spending is prosperity-negative. Government's source of income is the confiscation (emotive word, but you what I mean) of our income. We are poorer for it.

    We can’t hope to raise the water level in a swimming pool by taking water from the deep end and pouring it into the shallow end. In the same way, we can’t generate prosperity as a nation by taking hard-earned wages from the subject class and giving it to the ruling class. The ruling class can create a modicum of prosperity, especially when reinforced by talking heads on TV.

    Job creation and, by implication, prosperity, thrives in a country where the size of government is kept as small as possible. Singapore has grown its economy by more than +9% p.a. over the past 40-plus years. They have done so, because they have adhered strictly to the rule that kept the size of government to 12.5% of GDP. It is the fourth wealthiest country in the world, measured on a per capita basis. It has no natural resources to boost its GDP, for example, as is seen in oil rich countries. Singapore is a pure economic miracle based on the simple equation: Y is always > than X.

  10. Denis S says:

    So Albert,

    Tell me why the 0.1% who earned 80%+ of the income in the US last year have not created a few jobs.

    In an economy that produces more than it imports and the people responsible for doing the manufacturing and making the improvements in productivity get to share in the wealth created, YES Y is greater than X. In an oligarchy such as the US and much of Europe, Y is not greater than X because the 0.1% have succeeded in warping the arithmetic. There is no investment in jobs by those hoarding the wealth because they are "investing" that wealth in non productive assets like gold, diamonds, real estate, oil, coal, water, artwork, and all sorts of similar stuff they think will help them survive the coming upheaval, or will at least make them comfortable in the meantime. Henry Ford invested in Jobs. Sam Walton invested in jobs. Even Walt Disney invested in jobs. Modern corporate executives invest in cold hard assets and then manipulate the financial levers that rob the rest of us of our wealth. The attempt by the other 99.9% to ask government to try to right the wrong is only natural and is conceivably the only solution other than lining up the 0.1% and executing them before looting the spoils of their tyranny. We don't care if Y is greater than X in theory, we want a playing filed where the folks who would love to have an X or a Y have a fighting chance at getting either one.

    • steve says:

      Because you have an ever growing government with increasing regulation run by the 0.1% that you want to continue to grow the government, but you don't see it because you are listening to them telling you it is the fault of the 1% and listening to them tell you that bigger government will help you.

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