Our crumbling infrastructure & long commutes

Our public transportation system is failing low-income workers. According to a new study by the Brookings Institute – only a quarter of Americans can get to their job within 90 minutes using public transportation. For a lot of Americans who can’t afford a car – or the gas to commute the average 13 miles it takes for the typical American to get to work – then public transportation is their only option. But that means long, exhausting commutes.

The study goes on to recommend that it’s, “critical then for the nation to focus on smart transit investments.” That means spending federal money on infrastructure – something that Republicans in Congress have absolutely refused to do, despite the fact that America currently has a $2 trillion infrastructure deficit – meaning we need at least $2 trillion worth of repairs just to get everything up-to-date.

Considering there’s roughly 15 million American unemployed or underemployed – it’s good policy to put them back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, and rails. That is unless Republicans REALLY believe that a deteriorating 20th century infrastructure will keep America competitive in the 21st century global marketplace.


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Many years ago, when I had to travel to Korea to work in a couple of major IC manufacturing plants, I noticed that one way they had of solving part of their traffic problems (and they had really bad traffic problems even despite the commuter trains they had), was to have employee housing accommodations right on site. They had their own employee hotels and/or "barracks"..I guess you could call them campuses. This was mostly for young and unmarried employees.

When I worked in Guadalajara, Mexico, they helped with their traffic problems by having hundreds of Greyhound-like and school buses that I would see in the parking lots every day. And despite the large parking lots at the plants, where they parked the buses...it was really hard to find a parking space for my rented car. I initially took taxis but the smog was so bad in Guadalajara that having a rental let me close some of that out. Mexican taxis don't close their windows and turn on the air conditioner...so all that choking filth came through the windows in the taxis.

China was a mess..traffic-wise and pollution-wise..air pollution like Mexico.

So, I hope the US doesn't become like these other countries...re: pollution. I had to frequently go to LA, as well, and I occasionally noticed some really bad air pollution days. Maybe LA is our canary!

They are trying to get a hi-speed train system to connect SF and LA...I sure envy places that have high speed trains and a very well connect network of commuter trains that I saw in Europe. Of course, even with a great commuter system, some of these countries are so populated and packed that they still have a terrible air pollution problem. And even water pollution...it was very shocking to see the Huangpu river that flows through Shanghai..past the Bund boardwalk or from the Yangpu bridge. The current is very strong and you can see all kinds of unspeakable sewage and trash rushing by.

Karl Smiley's picture
Karl Smiley 10 years 36 weeks ago

We could sure use more bike lanes and bike friendly infrastructure. Most people can bike 13 miles in less than 90 minutes.

SalmonNationWoman's picture
SalmonNationWoman 10 years 36 weeks ago

The US has terrible particle pollution levels but it's nearly invisible unlike the smog of old. The media conspires to kepp it hidden as do organizations like The Heartland Institute.

It takes my significant other over 90 minutes on bus and train plus a 15-20 minute walk to get to work in San Jose, CA. He uses public transit 80%+ instead of driving. Some of the experiences he's had while commuting are hair-raising. Yesterday alone was a doozey!

On the way to work, the bus J takes goes past Valley Medical Center. When the bus stopped at hospital, the driver had to immediately put the bus out of service and call dispatch for paramedics. A man with double amputations of legs was nearly unconscious and BLEEDING from both stumps. J's best guess is he was released because he has no insurance or simply dumped, which is far too common an occurence. On the way home, on the same bus a person collapsed in Diabetic shock. Again, the driver put the bus out of service, called dispatch and paramedics.The person was working poor and couldn't afford insulin. Both incidents, J became the first repsonder along with the bus driver. J's been a front row witness and responder to TWO SUICIDES BY TRAIN, several auto fatalities near the station and a car-train collision. All these incidents were totally preventable IF our infrastructure; public transit, highways, hospitals, health care system, were made modern and FOR We The People.

J runs and collects recycleables very early morning. as he left the house at 5:15, he realized a house less than two blocks away was on fire and there were no emergency vehicles on site. Yesterday morning started out with a three-alarm house fire two blocks from our home on top of the bus incidents. This was the third fire in less than a year within a two block radius of our house. In all three fires, many people were made homeless and the structures a complete loss due to firehouse closings, attacks on first responder pensions and lay-offs.

ALL of these incidents were completely preventable IF our area infrastructure and public commons weren't privatized and allow to rot, all for the sake of corporate profits padding B(m)illionaire pockets.

Don't even get me started on Gov Jerry Brown's lameness by not enacting the Homeowners Bill of Rights immediately instead of Jan 2013. Millions more Californians will lose their homes before this law ever takes effect or in enforced. Yet another one for the banksters, ZERO for distressed homeowners. Even more pressure is imminent on our crumbling public commons and infrastruacture as a result.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 36 weeks ago

As a Southern California commuter I can affirm the fact that we have a major problem with transportation and the time it takes to get to from one point to another. We have tried adding a special lane for those who travel with two or more people in the vehicle and it has not dramatically helped with the fact we spend more and more time each day sitting in traffic on the freeways and on our local main streets. The idea that a high speed train system will alleviate the problems we have is wrong. The majority of commuters are not traveling to S.F. from L.A. to work daily. Our problem is we have too many cars trying to get to the same area, usually within 10 to 20 miles from our homes. At one time companies would try to arrange starting times for the work day either before or after the major traffic rush, and that has gone to the wayside with major companies having fewer employees due to the downsizing of most companies. The bussing of more people to their place of employment has over crowded that system to the maximum limit with people having to wait for the next bus to come along and waisting more time waiting. Building new highways would be great, but we do not have the money to keep the highways and roads we already have in proper condition for usage. Perhaps if our government stopped spending our money in other countries to improve their streets and roads and spent it here, we might have a chance of surviving the new century. The funds we are spending in Afghanistan and other countries where we have started unnecessary wars and started using it for our infrastructure we could start to mend this country. As far as jobs go, we could start deporting the 20 million illegal workers our industries, large and small businesses have hired to increase their personal profits each working day and hired Americans we would not have all the citizens who are unemployed or under employed here. We could also hire Americans to work on infrastructure, instead of handing the contracts to companies that will turn around and hire illegal immigrants to perform the work, for a change. Here in California you will find it difficult to find a company that does not hire illegal workers for every blue collar job for construction, transportation, warehousing to maintenance of all types. And please Thom doesn’t start crying how we cannot remove these illegal workers from our country or how necessary they are to our economy. The people who hire these illegals are cheating the gov't out of taxes from social security to Medicare and more. They hire the illegal workers as contractors and use the 1099 tax form which eliminates their legal obligation to send the employer’s tax of 7.5 percent that matches the amount the employee is supposed to pay into the social security tax. Hiring illegal workers as contractors also saves the employer from paying into the workers disability insurance funds. I could go on and on why these low life employers hire illegal workers, instead of hiring Americans to do the same job. And that is why I doubt any construction on our infrastructure will put much of a dent in our unemployment figures for American workers, but sure as hell will help draw in more and more illegal workers from other countries to do the work our citizens could and should be doing........TIME TO START DEPORTATION BEFORE REBUILDING OUR INFRASTRUCTURE FOR OUR CITIZENS!

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 36 weeks ago

Republicans are orchestrating a deteriorating infrastructure. It is not logical that since the Harriman/Standard Oil/International Harvester cartel would profit tremendously from

... “transit investments.” ...spending federal money at least $2 trillion worth of repairs- "

along with all the buses and trains for transit, that they should not be selling this proposal like hot cakes. Transportation is their MO.

Considering the tactics of International Truck and Engine (Navistar or Transtar) in the last century, their curious behavior now shows they are stallling for such a Depression that people will be clamoring to spread asphalt for peanuts, and man the factories gratefully, for whatever they can get.

Then will be the time to "rebuild America" into a suitable place for royalty, such as we love them.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 10 years 36 weeks ago

In the most sincere description, our Congress, Senate, Supreme Court, and President are a composite of the core of the American infrastructure. Now watching C-span Congress, and C-span Senate, now the conversation is not buffered by the cable electromagnetic journalist militia men and women of the one percent. While watching them don’t we know, with all the opportunities they have in time and abilities trumpeted, to notice all those men and women have brought America to this point?

For the last fifty years they have secret agreements with countries around the world, all for favors, especially making money through surrogates to the Cayman Island, and Swiss secret baby bank trust funds, loaded with legal legislative statutes to speed wealth for the one percent. Making wars through profiteering and importing deficient products that optimized America’s depreciation. Democratic or Republican all failed. No, many don’t think so yet many more are struggling, evolving, to that point of understanding that many high level political people are just plain criminals.

It is very hard to accept that thought that a previous President should or could be prosecuted for war crimes, torture, or treasury theft, or driving the country to hell. Or a Supreme Court member should be arrested and convicted for making money the same as free speech, which is insane.

Too much is said, not enough done. America must wake up to a simple long time real thought by a previous president.

“The first truth is that the liberty of a Democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their Democratic state itself. That in its essence, is fascism ownership by an individual , by groups, or by any other controlling private power.”

A message to strengthen, and enforce support for some basic anti-trust laws. By Franklin D. Roosevelt. Please, understand, I am an independent.

Yet this notion about money needs a whole lot of transparency. Every person in Congress, Senate, President, Supreme Court, and those immediate family and friends should be BANK TESTED. >>> Where’s the beef.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Excellent points, Ken Ware! It would be nice to be able to ride a fast train to LA and back in a short period of time. But that's really all it would be..and I agree with what you said about the illegal immigrants problem.

smitty1's picture
smitty1 10 years 36 weeks ago

There have been several times when the only job that I could find or the best job that I could find was many miles from my home & relocating a family was not feasable any time soon. We need tax relief for secondary housing costs! They can be substantial.

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