inthe00s
The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.

Google
  Web inthe00s.com



Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 08/01/07 at 7:14 pm

LEAD:

Minneapolis The Interstate 35W Mississippi River bridge near University Avenue has collapsed into the river.

http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_213191448.html

People at the scene said the bridge just collapsed into the Mississippi river leaving it partially submerged and some portions of the bridge on the roadway below. 

There are fires.  Cars in the water.  No deaths confirmed at this point. (8/01/07, 8: 15 p.m. EDT)

No indications of terrorism.

A schoolbus plunged off the bridge.  Fortunately, all the passengers got out, though some children are injured.

Pictures on TV show a chaotic, smokey, tangled, awful mess.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Jessica on 08/01/07 at 7:27 pm

I just caught this right now. They said something about a tractor trailer being on fire, but I'm not sure what that's about.

Oh lord, I hope nobody died.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 08/01/07 at 7:34 pm

They are just now reporting the first fatality.  It's not officially confirmed.  I would assume several people will be confirmed dead, though I hope it is not so!
:\'(

The Minnesota Twins game goes on.  It may seem insenstive, but as Keith Olbermann points out, it's better to proceed with the game than to send thousands of cars out into that mess.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: danootaandme on 08/01/07 at 9:07 pm

This is real bad.  Horrific.  They say it happened at 6 o'clock during rush hour.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: quirky_cat_girl on 08/01/07 at 9:22 pm

I just read about this....so incredibly tragic. I hope everyone is ok. :-\\

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: quirky_cat_girl on 08/01/07 at 9:54 pm

I just read that at least 6 people have died. :\'(

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: whistledog on 08/01/07 at 11:19 pm

A very tragic event :\'(

I am (as I am sure everyone is) anxious to know how a huge bridge like that could just collapse?  Kinda makes you wonder just how safe any bridge is now

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Marty McFly on 08/01/07 at 11:23 pm

Yeah, this is sad. :( I just saw some clips of it on Fox News. It's hard not to worry about the possibility of something like that happening, especially in Earthquake areas like this.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: La Roche on 08/01/07 at 11:32 pm

Poor sods.

Still, I suppose it's better to have it as an accident than some bastard blowing the bridge up.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Foo Bar on 08/02/07 at 12:22 am


Still, I suppose it's better to have it as an accident than some bastard blowing the bridge up.


I respectfully disagree.  We're spending billions on building bridges over there so that we don't spend billions on building bridges over here.  When it comes to engineering and transportation infrastructure, there's no such thing as benign neglect.  As it is with breasts, after fifty years, gravity always wins.


"Orren Boyle made a selfless sacrifice to the needs of others. He sold to the Bureau of Global Relief, for shipment to the People's State of Germany, ten thousand tons of structural steel shapes that had been intended for the Atlantic Southern Railroad. "It was a difficult decision to make," he said, with a moist, unfocused look of righteousness, to the panic-stricken president of the Atlantic Southern, "but I weighed the fact that you're a rich corporation, while the people of Germany are in a state of unspeakable misery. So I acted on the principle that need comes first. When in doubt, it's the weak that must be considered, not the strong."

The president of the Atlantic Southern had heard that Orren Boyle's most valuable friend in Washington had a friend in the Ministry of Supply of the People's State of Germany. But whether this had been Boyle's motive or whether it had been the principle of sacrifice, no one could tell and it made no difference: if Boyle had been a saint of the creed of selflessness, he would have had to do precisely what he had done. This silenced the president of the Atlantic Southern; he dared not admit that he cared for his railroad more than for the people of Germany; he dared not argue against the principle of sacrifice.

The waters of the Mississippi had been rising all through the month of January, swollen by the storms, driven by the wind into a restless grinding of current against current and against every obstruction in their way. On a night of lashing sleet, in the first week of February, the Mississippi bridge of the Atlantic Southern collapsed under a passenger train. The engine and the first five sleepers went down with the cracking girders into the twisting black spirals of water eighty feet below. The rest of the train remained on the first three spans of the bridge, which held.

"You can't have your cake and let your neighbor eat it, too," said Francisco d'Anconia. The fury of denunciations which the holders of public voices unleashed against him was greater than their concern over the horror at the river.

It was whispered that the chief engineer of the Atlantic Southern, in despair over the company's failure to obtain the steel he needed to reinforce the bridge, had resigned six months ago, telling the company that the bridge was unsafe. He had written a letter to the largest newspaper in New York, warning the public about it; the letter had not been printed. It was whispered that the first three spans of the bridge had held because they had been reinforced with structural shapes of Rearden Metal; but five hundred tons of the Metal was all that the railroad had been able to obtain under the Fair Share Law."


Replace "People's State of Germany" with "Iraq", "Atlantic Southern" with "Interstate highway system" (in a leap that even Rand would have found sickening, we're not only sacrificing our privately-owned transportation infrastructure in favor of that of others, we're burning our publicly-maintained transportation infrastructure in favor of that of others), "waters of the Mississippi" with "metal fatigue from 50 years of automobile traffic", and (no mere trifecta for me, I'm going for the quadrifecta) "chief engineer of the Atlantic Southern's letter to the largest newspaper in New York" with "A Minnesota Department of Transportation's report on the structural integrity of the bridge".

The only thing I want to know is where Rand hid her time machine.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: La Roche on 08/02/07 at 12:33 am


I respectfully disagree.  We're spending billions on building bridges over there so that we don't spend billions on building bridges over here.  When it comes to engineering and transportation infrastructure, there's no such thing as benign neglect.  As it is with breasts, after fifty years, gravity always wins.


Thing is... much in the same way all the bridges here in St. Louis were re-furbed and re-built a few years ago, the same will now happen in Minneapolis.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Gis on 08/02/07 at 3:30 am

Just watched it on the news this morning what a mess.  :-\\

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: LyricBoy on 08/02/07 at 6:01 am

Oh, the humanity.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: BrianMannixGirl on 08/02/07 at 7:10 am

Its looks bad - its been on the news here non stop since this morning. The kids in the big yellow school bus definitely had a lucky day - minor injuries only.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: 80s_cheerleader on 08/02/07 at 10:46 am

This is so scary because a friend of mine drove across that bridge at the same time a day before.  :o
Luckily, it could have been much worse.  Since they were working on the bridge at the time resurfacing the road, there was only about 1/2 the amount of traffic on the bridge that would have normally been on it.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Marian on 08/02/07 at 1:40 pm


They are just now reporting the first fatality.  It's not officially confirmed.  I would assume several people will be confirmed dead, though I hope it is not so!
:\'(

The Minnesota Twins game goes on.  It may seem insenstive, but as Keith Olbermann points out, it's better to proceed with the game than to send thousands of cars out into that mess.
Good point.they didnt need more cars going back.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: nally on 08/02/07 at 1:43 pm

My condolences go out to all the families of the victims of the collapse.


By the way, I heard last night on tv that 9 people had died...then 7...and this morning they said only 4 had died. :-\\ I wonder which statistic is correct?? ???

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: CatwomanofV on 08/02/07 at 2:31 pm

I only heard a little bit about it this morning on the radio (haven't watched t.v. or read the paper in the last 24 hours). It is so sad. My hearts go out to all the people who lost loved ones in this tragic event.



Cat

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Philip Eno on 08/02/07 at 5:33 pm

I have only heard about this from the radio and pictures in the newspapers, it does look tragic and does make you wonder how well infrastructure is built. The fault has been laid down to fatigue or something wrong with its desing?

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: coqueta83 on 08/02/07 at 5:43 pm

This is so terrible! My heart goes out to the victims and their families, too......I certainly hope there isn't any more fatalities.  :\'(

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Mushroom on 08/02/07 at 7:08 pm


I have only heard about this from the radio and pictures in the newspapers, it does look tragic and does make you wonder how well infrastructure is built. The fault has been laid down to fatigue or something wrong with its desing?


It is probably a combination of many things.

In general, our entire highway infrastructure is crumbling.  It is old, and there is simply not enough money to fix it properly.  We have not only the largest highway system in the world, but also the system with the lowest number of toll roads.  Some people praise systems in other countries, like the Autobahn.  But they seem to forget that over 98% of the US system is free, where this is not true in other areas (like Okinawa, where 100% of "Limited Access Highways" are toll roads).

In reality, about the only way to get enough money to fully update the system would be to institute a toll system.  Because most of the bridges are in excess of 40 years old, and have been neglected.  They are saying that as many as 50% of Interstate highway bridges are now unsafe, but there is simply no way to raise enough money to bring them all into compliance.

Myself, I think that we should consider what is being done in Germany: A toll placed on heavy trucks.  One thing that has been killed in this country is the train service, because of the cheapness of free interstate highways.  If a toll was put in place for trucks, this would cause a lot of companies to look back into transport by train (which is much more environmentally friendly).  And the money collected could help upgrade and replace our current system, which has been providing free use to the truck companies for over half a century.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 08/02/07 at 8:38 pm


It is probably a combination of many things.

In general, our entire highway infrastructure is crumbling.  It is old, and there is simply not enough money to fix it properly.  We have not only the largest highway system in the world, but also the system with the lowest number of toll roads.  Some people praise systems in other countries, like the Autobahn.  But they seem to forget that over 98% of the US system is free, where this is not true in other areas (like Okinawa, where 100% of "Limited Access Highways" are toll roads).

In reality, about the only way to get enough money to fully update the system would be to institute a toll system.  Because most of the bridges are in excess of 40 years old, and have been neglected.  They are saying that as many as 50% of Interstate highway bridges are now unsafe, but there is simply no way to raise enough money to bring them all into compliance.

Myself, I think that we should consider what is being done in Germany: A toll placed on heavy trucks.  One thing that has been killed in this country is the train service, because of the cheapness of free interstate highways.  If a toll was put in place for trucks, this would cause a lot of companies to look back into transport by train (which is much more environmentally friendly).  And the money collected could help upgrade and replace our current system, which has been providing free use to the truck companies for over half a century.

Hey, I'm on board with you on this one.  I would love to see a complete overhaul and upgrade of the freight rail system, and a renaissance for passanger rail of all kinds--long distance and light rail.  I mean Amtrack is such an effing disgrace I'd rather take a Greyhound bus! 

Warning after warning comes and goes about the dangers of deteriorating highways and unsafe bridges.  Nobody listens until a disaster such as I-35 in Minneapolis.  The highway infrastructure problem makes the news and gets a few articles in the weeks after, but then it's back to the same old same old.

We same to get a major bridge collaps like this on average about every 12 years.  That's absolutely unacceptable. 

On the other hand--and I don't mean to sound callous at a time like this--statistically your still safer driving over an Interstate bridge than you are crossing a city street.

Unless the city is Boston.  Then you're safer kayaking over the Niagra Falls than you are trying to make your way across Arlington Street at rush hour!
::)

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: LyricBoy on 08/03/07 at 5:58 am



Myself, I think that we should consider what is being done in Germany: A toll placed on heavy trucks.  One thing that has been killed in this country is the train service, because of the cheapness of free interstate highways.  If a toll was put in place for trucks, this would cause a lot of companies to look back into transport by train (which is much more environmentally friendly).  And the money collected could help upgrade and replace our current system, which has been providing free use to the truck companies for over half a century.


Rail is already cheaper than truck for hauls over 200 miles.  And deisel fuel is taxed as heavily as gasoline, so your average trucker pays a boatload of taxes already.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: danootaandme on 08/03/07 at 6:13 am


Rail is already cheaper than truck for hauls over 200 miles.  And deisel fuel is taxed as heavily as gasoline, so your average trucker pays a boatload of taxes already.


Agreed.  The corporate companies could do it, but, the gypsy truckers are running on a tight enough margin already.  Amtrak is being squeezed because there are back door negotiations trying to privatize it.  I love the train, but have seen the quality diminish. The infrastructure of this country is crumbling while bush builds his summer palace...in Iraq

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Tia on 08/03/07 at 7:38 am

i've been sleeping on buses for the last two days so i just heard about this this morning. very freaky and horrific.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 08/03/07 at 7:12 pm


Rail is already cheaper than truck for hauls over 200 miles.  And deisel fuel is taxed as heavily as gasoline, so your average trucker pays a boatload of taxes already.

That's why the indie contractors pop pills and drive all night.  They have to drive 18 hours a day just to break even!
::)

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: gumbypiz on 08/03/07 at 8:05 pm


That's why the indie contractors pop pills and drive all night.  They have to drive 18 hours a day just to break even!
::)

Exactly.
I worked in both ocean freight and long haul trucking logistics for years.
The story is this, while rail is cheaper, trucks are much quicker and much, much more flexible as far as the customer is concerned. Minilandbridge (rail) does not serve all areas, trucks do. Plus rail has notorious delays in transit.
When it comes to the retail and supply industry there will always be long haul "teams" pulling 72 hrs cross country trips. Rail simply cannot do this.
Besides, no matter how you look at it, no matter what it is, EVERYTHING at some point moves on a truck of some kind. No way around it.

And, with the surge in imports, rail is at capacity, the surge in rail growth over the years is incredible. Rail freight is actually profitable now. You have to wait to get your load on ramp to rail. If you can't wait, it HAS to be moved by truck. If Best Buy has some 30" TVs it needs for a Xmas sale within the week in the northeast, and the product is in TJ(Mexico), its going to move by truck to make it to its stores in time, not rail.

As to Amtrak, ain't gonna happen. Imagine the troubles of the airlines, coupled with an aging rail system. Its already cheaper to fly than bus or rail, why would the average customer want it? Have you ridden Amtrak lately? It's 60's technology, coupled with 80's logistics. End result, fly or drive,its cheaper and faster.
Congress and your wallet (taxpayer) just isn't gonna ante up the funds for any upgrades, not when it comes to making a difference in real time savings or cost. They haven't in the past, why would they now? Why do you think the US has the worst passenger rail system on the planet?

As for busting the truckers with fees, people have no real idea how difficult it is to be a trucker.  The guys you see pulling containers back and forth to port, thats on $10 a run and that doesn't cover the diesel fuel for the trip. There is almost no margin for profit. Any costs for transportation upgrades or tolls on the roads that might be assessed,you, the consumer will end up paying for.

New tolls for road will be fought bitterly. Trucks pay for most of the road upkeep to begin with. Its time for us, the average car driver to take his fare share of the costs directly.
Might as well, as you will pay for it one way or another.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Abix on 08/04/07 at 7:57 am

Hey Folks,
It's been a long time.. I want to say hello to those who might remember me. I've been quite busy this summer so haven't had much time to sign on. But I haven't forgotten Inthe00s.
As some of you might know, I live here in Minnesota, in the Twin Cities, about 10 minutes from this site. I was at work when this happened, and believe me we were all shocked and being that I work in a hospital, all hospitals were on alert in case of a "Code Orange". That is a hosptial plan for major catastrophic events . The only hospital that had a code orange was Hennepin County Medical Center, which is blocks from the site of this collapse. Sadly, the cars that plunged into the river, remain there, and none of the bodies have been recovered yet, as the divers are fighting off debris, strong currents and zero visibility. G.W. is supposed to be making an appearance today.
There has been lots of speculation on how many cars went over, how many people are missing and the truth is, nobody knows. The bridge collapsed in the midst of rush hour traffic, at 6:05pm when a Twins Game was scheduled to start at 7pm. 35W at University avenue is a major artery in the freeway system, linking Hwys 36, 280, and Interstate 94. The Metrodome can be seen clearly in the distance. It's difficult to say how many mini vans/ cars might have had entire families occupying them , enroute to the Twins game when this happened. That's why it's unclear about the number of confirmed dead. Initially the number was as high as 9.. then down to 4 and now it's at 5.. but divers have found cars with bodies in them but they haven't been recovered. So it's not clear if they are counting them or not.
It's a real mess!
And then there are questions about how this happened in the first place. That first night, listening to the news.. I don't know how many times I heard uttered from a reporter, "Could it have been an act of Terrorism..?" 
Well if you count that the MN dept of Transportation inspected the bridge back in 1990 and found deficiencies in it's structure but deemed it too costly to rebuild until 2020.. Well maybe it could be counted as an act of terrorism by turning a blind eye?!
We live in a state that has extreme weather changes.. Extreme heat and humidity in the summer, (it was 94 degrees when the bridge collapsed), and extreme cold along with ice and snow and various chemicals and salts put on the roads to deter ice, those same chemicals seeping into the steel trusses causing further corrosion and weakening in load bearing beams and bolts.. and these trusses withstanding bumper to bumper traffic every day for the last 40 yrs.. well it was only a matter of time that this would happen.
Meanwhile our stadium ground breaking was postponed... hmmm where are our priorities?

Let's just continue to pray that the casualty numbers remain low.. and maybe it won't be as bad as it could have been.  Oh but wait.. then we'll miss out on that big grant for bridge relief and benefit concert put on by Sting, Madonna and George Clooney!  Damn..

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Jessica on 08/04/07 at 8:43 am


Hey Folks,
It's been a long time.. I want to say hello to those who might remember me. I've been quite busy this summer so haven't had much time to sign on. But I haven't forgotten Inthe00s.
As some of you might know, I live here in Minnesota, in the Twin Cities, about 10 minutes from this site. I was at work when this happened, and believe me we were all shocked and being that I work in a hospital, all hospitals were on alert in case of a "Code Orange". That is a hosptial plan for major catastrophic events . The only hospital that had a code orange was Hennepin County Medical Center, which is blocks from the site of this collapse. Sadly, the cars that plunged into the river, remain there, and none of the bodies have been recovered yet, as the divers are fighting off debris, strong currents and zero visibility. G.W. is supposed to be making an appearance today.
There has been lots of speculation on how many cars went over, how many people are missing and the truth is, nobody knows. The bridge collapsed in the midst of rush hour traffic, at 6:05pm when a Twins Game was scheduled to start at 7pm. 35W at University avenue is a major artery in the freeway system, linking Hwys 36, 280, and Interstate 94. The Metrodome can be seen clearly in the distance. It's difficult to say how many mini vans/ cars might have had entire families occupying them , enroute to the Twins game when this happened. That's why it's unclear about the number of confirmed dead. Initially the number was as high as 9.. then down to 4 and now it's at 5.. but divers have found cars with bodies in them but they haven't been recovered. So it's not clear if they are counting them or not.
It's a real mess!
And then there are questions about how this happened in the first place. That first night, listening to the news.. I don't know how many times I heard uttered from a reporter, "Could it have been an act of Terrorism..?" 
Well if you count that the MN dept of Transportation inspected the bridge back in 1990 and found deficiencies in it's structure but deemed it too costly to rebuild until 2020.. Well maybe it could be counted as an act of terrorism by turning a blind eye?!
We live in a state that has extreme weather changes.. Extreme heat and humidity in the summer, (it was 94 degrees when the bridge collapsed), and extreme cold along with ice and snow and various chemicals and salts put on the roads to deter ice, those same chemicals seeping into the steel trusses causing further corrosion and weakening in load bearing beams and bolts.. and these trusses withstanding bumper to bumper traffic every day for the last 40 yrs.. well it was only a matter of time that this would happen.
Meanwhile our stadium ground breaking was postponed... hmmm where are our priorities?

Let's just continue to pray that the casualty numbers remain low.. and maybe it won't be as bad as it could have been.  Oh but wait.. then we'll miss out on that big grant for bridge relief and benefit concert put on by Sting, Madonna and George Clooney!  Damn..


I am soooo glad you are okay. I kept thinking to myself, "Doesn't Abix live in that area?" and kept worrying!

I understand your bitterness about priorities. It seems like everyone thinks these roads and bridges are invincible, and they're not. And it really cheeses me off to see them always out here working on what seems like the same expanse of interstate, yet you go 5-10 miles down the road, and you can tell it's a piece of crap, bridges included.

It's a shame that it takes a tragedy of this magnitude for anyone to care about something. I'm still hoping to God that the death toll doesn't rise too high. :-\\

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Green Lantern on 08/04/07 at 8:46 am

Hi Abix ... yes I remember you ... always friendly here. Haven't returned here that long ago myself. I've read in other threads that you've been sadly missed  .... so I'm sure there will be quite a few here very pleased that you're back. Looks like you've posted at a very quiet time on the boards ... but yes .. you'll get a very warm reception. Sad though that you're caught up in the middle of this disaster.

Have to say when I first saw the pictures I immediately thought terrorism too .. but it now certainly looks the case that warnings from years ago were not taken seriously enough ...

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Abix on 08/04/07 at 6:22 pm


I am soooo glad you are okay. I kept thinking to myself, "Doesn't Abix live in that area?" and kept worrying!

I understand your bitterness about priorities. It seems like everyone thinks these roads and bridges are invincible, and they're not. And it really cheeses me off to see them always out here working on what seems like the same expanse of interstate, yet you go 5-10 miles down the road, and you can tell it's a piece of crap, bridges included.

It's a shame that it takes a tragedy of this magnitude for anyone to care about something. I'm still hoping to God that the death toll doesn't rise too high. :-\\



Hi Abix ... yes I remember you ... always friendly here. Haven't returned here that long ago myself. I've read in other threads that you've been sadly missed  .... so I'm sure there will be quite a few here very pleased that you're back. Looks like you've posted at a very quiet time on the boards ... but yes .. you'll get a very warm reception. Sad though that you're caught up in the middle of this disaster.

Have to say when I first saw the pictures I immediately thought terrorism too .. but it now certainly looks the case that warnings from years ago were not taken seriously enough ...


Thanks Jess, Thanks Mr. Mister.. ( I remember you.. when I gave you karma and you hit 69.. I believe it was you,  right??) -
I'm fine.. It hasn't really impacted my life directly, but indirectly it has probably impacted all of us, because I'm sure there are bridges /overpasses all over America that are slowly crumbling away.. In fact.. the day before this happened.. on 7/31 in California, there was a bridge collapse and a Fed Ex driver was killed. It's not the first, it won't be the last... I'm sure of it. Meanwhile, let's  build our 3 stadiums ( here in MN , they are going to build three separate stadiums for the Twins, the Vikings and the Gophers!) , and let's hope that the bridges leading to them don't collapse when heading to these events.. (I know that was purely coincidence, but I'm being a bit facetious here.)

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Green Lantern on 08/04/07 at 9:24 pm

Thanks Mr. Mister.. ( I remember you.. when I gave you karma and you hit 69.. I believe it was you,  right??)

What a good memory you have Abix ... or should I say 'Angel' as I now recall  is your name ...

Yes .. I have to admit I'd forgotten about that '69' incident .. :-[ :-[

... but strangely .. it was the case I karma'd you too to take you to '69' ... and I wonder how few times that would have happened on this site!

:)

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Jessica on 08/07/07 at 7:21 pm

I was perusing coasttocoastam.com and found these pictures that someone had taken. They're very candid and close up, and you get a sense of how absolutely devastating it was. :\'(

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/gen/page2144.html?theme=light

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: NobodySpecial on 08/15/07 at 4:49 pm

But what do we do about the problem?

AMTRAK was federalized because rail transportation was loosing money.  And while the freight side has recovered, the passenger rail side has never really recovered.  One of the oldest lines in the country (Florida to California) was cut off in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and there is no plan on ever fixing the line (because it was loosing money).

So we keep it in Government hands, and it looses money.  We sell parts of it back to private enterprise, and some makes a profit and others make a loss.

Some will complain either way.  Everybody complains, but nobody has a solution.

How about this:  Turn the entire Interstate System over to toll roads.  Allow businesses and individuals to buy "Annual Passes", so people that rely on it can foot the bill.  People that do not use the system will not have to pay.

Although I am sure people will complain about that idea as well.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 08/15/07 at 10:37 pm


But what do we do about the problem?

AMTRAK was federalized because rail transportation was loosing money.  And while the freight side has recovered, the passenger rail side has never really recovered.  One of the oldest lines in the country (Florida to California) was cut off in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and there is no plan on ever fixing the line (because it was loosing money).

So we keep it in Government hands, and it looses money.  We sell parts of it back to private enterprise, and some makes a profit and others make a loss.

Some will complain either way.  Everybody complains, but nobody has a solution.

How about this:  Turn the entire Interstate System over to toll roads.  Allow businesses and individuals to buy "Annual Passes", so people that rely on it can foot the bill.  People that do not use the system will not have to pay.

Although I am sure people will complain about that idea as well.

The government subsidized the Interstates, the auto industry, the airline industry, and the oil industry and helped choked the railroads to death just as it helped them be born in the earlier century.

You won't get it if you listen to the Right who say:
The railroads connect America coast to coast = Private enterprise
Amtrak can't get you from Boston to Philly in under eight hours = Big government

The automobile brings suburban affluence and personal freedom = Private enterprise
The inner cities disintegrate into crime, poverty, and deplorable housing projects = Big government

If you look a little closer you find that both Sam and Captain Industry colluded in all four of the above phenomena.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Red Ant on 08/15/07 at 11:03 pm


But what do we do about the problem?



The problem of bridges collapsing? I'm not sure...maybe, oh, listen to the inspectors when they say "Hey, this bridge isn't fit for a caterpillar to walk across!" or maybe consult the engineers who designed a "40 year bridge" to last no more than 40 years...


AMTRAK was federalized because rail transportation was loosing money.  And while the freight side has recovered, the passenger rail side has never really recovered.  One of the oldest lines in the country (Florida to California) was cut off in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and there is no plan on ever fixing the line (because it was loosing money).



Passenger trains, long distance anyway, are obsolete. I rode an Amtrak once from Richmond, Va to Orlando, Fl. It was one of the most uncomfortable and annoying 19 hours of my life. If Amtrak is still losing money, it needs to be scrapped. There is NOTHING romantic or economical about riding aboard one of these trains. The Orient Express it isn't.


How about this:  Turn the entire Interstate System over to toll roads.  Allow businesses and individuals to buy "Annual Passes", so people that rely on it can foot the bill.  People that do not use the system will not have to pay.

Although I am sure people will complain about that idea as well.


I'd complain: I-64 is already FUBARed when it comes to traffic. Adding toll booths every x number of miles would make it almost a parking lot 24/7.

Many people here use the Interstate - the solution, to me, is to raise everyone's taxes to fix it and make it work. Alternatively, firing everyone at VDOT and hiring people who can actually do things in a timely manner would be best... no raising taxes.

Ant

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Tia on 08/17/07 at 7:37 am

amtrak aside (and i personally have never had a bad experience with them, i've ridden them several times) there's just no way this system where everywhere we go, we a 1000-pound hunk of metal along with us the entire way -- that system is so disastrously inefficient there's just no way to make it sustainable. i think it's inevitable we're going to have to go to a system here that's much more extensively focused on rail and other forms of public transportation.

it occurs to me that back in the day autos were first a luxury item and then were useful for people who lived in the country to get back and forth from the city in a convenient manner; we're talking well before world war ii and we're talking about cats who weren't even close to a train station. and then the car industry caught on to the wise idea that if they could get rid of the streetcar system they could sell the citydwellers on having cars downtown for going from place to place. that went like gangbusters. then, after world war ii, cars became useful for citydwellers to get OUT of the city, back to the country in case of nuclear attack. (look it up, that was originally one of the key purposes of the interstate highway system, to facilitate nuclear evacuation.) isn't it ironic? wouldn't alanis say?

of course now, evacuating cities is hideously hard to do because now most people DO have cars and in the event of an emergency you'll have millions of these one-ton beasts clogging up roads that can't accommodate the typical rush hour. finding a way to pile people in an orderly fashion onto trains would probably work much better but the auto industry long ago saw to it that we no longer have any infrastructure like that in place even though the auto, which was supposed to substitute for it, doesn't work for that purpose anymore.

in short: i think it would do wonders to get a decent rail service in this country, of the kind they have in england and continental europe. it's much more efficient, much smarter, and it could create millions of jobs. and you'd have to buy a lot less 3-dollar gas and have to worry a lot less about collapsing bridges. not to mention it's much safer (you'd pretty much have to be running around drunk on the ledge of a skyscraper to put your life in as much jeopardy as you do when you tool around on the nation's roads, statistically speaking), more relaxing (you get to sit on your fat, commuter-coddled ass and look out the window) and more social (i'm assuming there'll be cocktail cars, man!). i dunno, i'm not sure what the downside here is unless it's that it seems like a lot of work to set up and maybe it just seems sorta flitty and european-y to people somehow. but seriously, this SUV thing is just plain stupid.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Mushroom on 08/17/07 at 4:52 pm


amtrak aside (and i personally have never had a bad experience with them, i've ridden them several times) there's just no way this system where everywhere we go, we a 1000-pound hunk of metal along with us the entire way -- that system is so disastrously inefficient there's just no way to make it sustainable. i think it's inevitable we're going to have to go to a system here that's much more extensively focused on rail and other forms of public transportation.


Personally, I am a large believer in trains.  I have used them many times, both to travel and to commute.  And I wish that the system was not broken down as badly as it is.  As was pointed out, if I want to go Los Angeles from Dothan by train, I either have to travel north to Chicago, then West, then South from Portland.  It is either that, or drive to New Orleans (because the route East of there is closed).  Since I rarely fly if I can avoid it (is not a fear of flying, I simply prefer having room to move around and like to sight see and take my time), trains are perfect for me.

And trains are still a major factor in evacuation, if the word gets out.  There were 6 special Amtrack trains sent to NO to help in the evacuation, but they all left no more then 10% full.  The words was simply never put out by the local officials that they were available.  The last train in fact left 8 hours before Katrina hit, with no passengers at all.  Out of a total of 6 trains sent just to aid in the evacuation, less then 500 people actually used them.  If they had been publicized, many thousands more could have been evacuated (there were plans to run a total of 12 trains, but the later ones were cancelled due to the low number of people taking advantage of them).

I agree that traveling cross-country on a train would not be much fun, but if more people that took short flights (like Boston to New York) used the train, it would definately be a lot more "environmentally friendly".  I have been a supporter for over 20 years of installing a high speed rail between LA and Las Vegas.  Doing so would go a long ways to reducing congestion on the roads, and elmininating the large number of flights between the cities on weekends.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 08/17/07 at 5:06 pm

Railroads?  Are you kidding?  Nobody ever made any money off of railroads!
;)

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Tia on 08/17/07 at 5:07 pm

There were 6 special Amtrack trains sent to NO to help in the evacuation, but they all left no more then 10% full.  The words was simply never put out by the local officials that they were available.  The last train in fact left 8 hours before Katrina hit, with no passengers at all.  Out of a total of 6 trains sent just to aid in the evacuation, less then 500 people actually used them.  If they had been publicized, many thousands more could have been evacuated (there were plans to run a total of 12 trains, but the later ones were cancelled due to the low number of people taking advantage of them).
well, that's depressing. and i guess it goes to the point -- if trains had been an established way for people to travel then it would have been much easier to get people to congregate where the trains were leaving the city and that resource wouldn't have been wasted (presuming this is all on the level, and isn't  like the whole nagin-was-supposed-to-drive-the-school-buses-out-of-new-orleans thing... ::) )... but if you're a believer in mass-transport, i'm delighted we could find something to agree on.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Mushroom on 08/18/07 at 7:24 pm


if you're a believer in mass-transport, i'm delighted we could find something to agree on.


I am a huge believer in mass transit.  To me one of the biggest problems with the Los Angeles Subway system is that all the NIMBY jerks prevented it from reaching it's full potential.  So instead of covering most of LA, it stops abruptly in several areas, missing the areas where it was needed most.

In fact, I am already planning my Christmas leave, and am going to visit an old friend from High School in Phoenix.  Since by then I will be in El Paso, it is a trip of over 400 miles.  I just looked up the fare at Amtrak, and it is $104 round trip.  The cheapest airline fare I could find roundtrip was $295.  So it is pretty much a no-brainer which way I will be traveling.

Subject: Re: Minneapolis bridge collapse

Written By: Green Lantern on 08/18/07 at 9:32 pm


I just looked up the fare at Amtrak, and it is $104 round trip.  The cheapest airline fare I could find roundtrip was $295.  So it is pretty much a no-brainer which way I will be traveling.


I agree! Enjoy your flight, Mike (Mushroom) !  :D

Check for new replies or respond here...