The day job is killing me

If I only had time just to blog… read and blog. Now that would be great. Read, blog and organize. There you go… just those three things. Read, blog, organize and do the things that you have been reading, blogging and organizing. My day job sometimes gets in the way.

I had to post this video.  😉

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Rachel Maddow has talked about infrastructure extensively. We have to start spending money on our infrastructure. It is nothing like spending money on a sexy building that has your name on it (politicians love to do this). It is not like corporate tax cuts which have the added bonus of getting some return campaign contributions. Instead, spending on infrastructure can give us bridges that don’t fall down and a more stable power grid.

This week several states including Kentucky were hit with a major ice storm. I’m not sure how common ice storms are in Kentucky. I grew up in Dallas. We had a major ice storm almost every year. Every year the power went out to some section of the city. This probably still happens today. Maintenance. Cutting trees over power lines can prevent some of these power outages. Also burying power lines so they are not susceptible to the forces of nature can prevent some of these outages. None of these ideas is new. All it would take would be some money. I see no reason why in the year 2009 large cities like Louisville should be in the dark because of an ice storm.

The National Guard was called out in Kentucky to help with the ice storm aftermath.

We need to demand more from our local, state and federal officials. There is simply no reason for this.

Watch the video:

The American Society of Civil Engineers has given infrastructure a grade of D. Sure, they have a self-interest in this. If we invest in a lot of projects then a lot of engineers will have work. Still, they have a major point. Here are some of the low lights of their report

Aviation D
Despite surging oil prices, volatile credit markets, and a lagging economy, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts a three percent annual growth in air travel. These travelers are faced with increasing delays and inadequate conditions as a result of the long overdue need to modernize the outdated air traffic control system and the failure to enact a federal aviation program.

Bridges C
More than 26%, or one in four, of the nation’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. While some progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of deficient and obsolete bridges in rural areas, the number in urban areas is rising. A $17 billion annual investment is needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions. Currently, only $10.5 billion is spent annually on the construction and maintenance of bridges.

Dams D
As dams age and downstream development increases, the number of deficient dams has risen to more than 4,000, including 1,819 high hazard potential dams. Over the past six years, for every deficient, high hazard potential dam repaired, nearly two more were declared deficient. There are more than 85,000 dams in the U.S., and the average age is just over 51 years old.

Drinking Water D-
America’s drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. This does not account for growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years. Leaking pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water a day.

Energy D+
Progress has been made in grid reinforcement since 2005 and substantial investment in generation, transmission and distribution is expected over the next two decades. Demand for electricity has grown by 25% since 1990. Public and government opposition and difficulty in the permitting processes are restricting much needed modernization. Projected electric utility investment needs could be as much as $1.5 trillion by 2030.

Hazardous Waste D
Redevelopment of brownfields sites over the past five years generated an estimated 191,338 new jobs and $408 million annually in extra revenues for localities. In 2008, however, there were 188 U.S. cities with brownfields sites awaiting cleanup and redevelopment. Additionally, federal funding for “Superfund” cleanup of the nation’s worst toxic waste sites has declined steadily, dropping to $1.08 billion in 2008, its lowest level since 1986.

Levees D-
More than 85% of the nation’s estimated 100,000 miles of levees are locally owned and maintained. The reliability of many of these levees is unknown. Many are over 50 years old and were originally built to protect crops from flooding. With an increase in development behind these levees, the risk to public health and safety from failure has increased. Rough estimates put the cost at more than $100 billion to repair and rehabilitate the nation’s levees.

more here.

0 Responses

  1. I don’t know how you find time to maintain a blog, a podcast and be a super doc… I get tired just reading that list.
    Where is the time to sleep?

    As for ice storms… and infrastructure… St. Louis had a massive storm a couple of years ago that shut the metro area down for over a week. Turns out that trees weren’t being trimmed (the money for it was being stripped from the budget, year after year). The local utility is now burying the lines.

    The U.S. is so far behind in maintaining its roads, bridges, dams and sewers, etc… that we won’t catch up….even with the proposed stimulus plan.

    Political leaders in the U.S. have neglected home for so long…. diverting funds to adventures elsewhere that have forced themselves into the position of making a lot of hard choices. The U.S. will have to deal with internal needs once and for all… or it will face falling behind as a World leader….particularly in technology and education and overall opportunity and prosperity. Already we are beginning to see a shift in the quality of life for many in this Country.

    I hope the Obama Admin’s stimulus plan works… although I think there should be a lot more sustainable job creation in the bill…across more sectors of the economy…. too much may be focused on heavy construction.

  2. Thanks for your comments.

    Sleep is for wimps!!!

    You are 100% correct. Politic leaders are too busy focusing on re-election and not on the important things.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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A Letter to America

The Thirteeneth Juror

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