• Pretending it is 1952

    by  • December 12, 2011 • Engineering, Federal Funding, Land Use • 0 Comments

    by Chuck Marohn

    Cross-posted in Strong Towns

    The American Society of Civil Engineers has just released a report that should be titled, “Pretending it is 1952.” Like a broken record, ASCE is again painting a bleak picture of the future if American politicians — as if they need to be plied — won’t open up the checkbook for our noble engineers…

    While originally conceived in the name of “national defense,” [road building] investments were made in the service of “growth” and the belief that all increases in mobility, no matter how insignificant, would add to the overall prosperity. We’ve spent trillions to save seconds in the first and last mile of each trip, and what we’ve gotten is the fake prosperity of a land use pattern that is bankrupting us

    I’m proud to be a civil engineer, but I will have nothing to do with ASCE and their self-serving, narrow view of the world. [ASCE states that the cumulative costs of not investing in more roads is a trillion dollars but] that to reach “minimum tolerable conditions” (a pretty sad standard) would take an investment of $220 billion annually. Over 10 years, that’s $2.2 trillion. Yeah, you read that right. The American Society of Civil Engineers wrote a report that suggested over the next decade we spend $2.2 trillion so that we can save $1.0 trillion. And you wonder why we’re broke…

    ASCE estimated that, in a 30-year trend projection, we would have 400,000 more jobs in 2040 if we fully funded our transportation system (page 13). The ridiculousness of this number can’t be overstated. NEW jobless claims last week alone were 400,000. We’re supposed to make a multi-trillion dollar investment over the next three decades on a trend line projection that we’ll have 400,000 more jobs? Are they serious?…

    One other thing in the report that made me shake my head was a table they had titled, “Top 20 Countries and Economies Ranked by the Quality of Roads and Railroads.” (page 17) For roads, the United States is ranked 19th behind such countries as France (2), Switzerland (3) and Germany (5), all countries that I have driven in. Anyone who has done likewise will attest that the standard highway in Europe is like a country road here in the U.S. I agree that their freeways are awesome, but they are also designed to connect towns, not feed strip development…

    Read entire post HERE>>>


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    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

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