Thursday, August 02, 2007

Not ten hours after I wrote the last entry I see this article on Yahoo News:

Freeway Infrastructure

Entering a corrosive era

There is a deniable fact-of-the-matter that has been and will continue to be dangerously ignored by public officials and cheerleaders of our nation's pornographic addiction to economic growth by way of road development. The fact is simple: freeway infrastructure, the lifeblood of the American economy and the single most influential element of post-war American socio-political identity, is busted and unsustainable. For all the billions and billions and billions of dollars federal and state governments have doled out to construct the dizzying expanse of concrete and steel wastelands around our country have a half-life of right about now. Freeway collapses like the one seen in Minneapolis this week will certainly become more common because concrete and rebar don't last forever. The sages of neo-liberal free market capitalism who consecrated the mendacious delusions of the suburban disposition in late-modernity America were successful in convincing those thirsty for the pornographies of the free market that Growth was invincible, all-accelerating, and permanent. Well, unfortunately, Growth is designed for lifespans of 50-60 years, and every time Growth reaches this milestone Growth must be restored, reconstructed, reworked, dismantled, or demolished. State governments already are struggling to repair all those teeny bridges that cross creek beds and gullies on the two-lane highways of the American countryside, let alone the truss arched interstate bridges over large rivers in the cities that carry tens of thousands of cars a day. Now imagine all those roads out there: all the freeway bypasses, the four-lane median US highways, all those bridges in all those little towns across the entire breadth of the continent--all of them facing their golden anniversaries, with failure--death--imminent. The simple, undeniable fact of the matter is that none of it is sustainable. We nihilistically manifested the suburban buildout once, but there is simply no money to do it twice.