Austerity Declared Winner In Washington State Bridge Collapse

Gee, I wonder what will happen if we build roads and bridges, then completely ignore them for decades and drastically cut funding everywhere in order to suck the knob of the right wing’s newest golden calf, austerity? Surely nothing bad will happen ever, because debt and deficit are lurking in the corner, threatening to molest your kiddies worse that Ghost Harvey Milk, and Jesus loves austerity.

Well, folks in Washington State got a taste of austerity’s sour splooge yesterday when a bridge on Interstate 5 straight up collapsed:

The major highway bridge linking the Washington state city of Seattle with Canada and the rest of the Pacific north-west region collapsed late on Thursday, dumping several vehicles and the people inside into a river.

The four-lane Interstate 5 bridge collapsed about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Trooper Mark Francis of the Washington state patrol said.

Since last night's bridge collapse, which at least was no motherfucking Minnesota bridge collapse, Jesus, officials have blamed a truck that was overloaded and ran into one of the bridge's spans.

But shouldn't a truck NOT be able to take out an interstate highway, unless it is overloaded WITH TERRORISM?

Yr Wonkette has a sad over the bridge collapse in Washington State. But if the GOP continues to have a hissyfit anytime anyone wants to spend a dime, even to help with GODDAM TORNADO RELIEF, then this kind of shit will continue to happen.

Let’s wonksplore some facts and data about transportation funding (CLICK! It’s not like we are lecturing on the 5th amendment again!)

Lots of the roads and bridges in the United States were built back in the 1930s and '40s and '50s, when some crazy liberal started putting people to work by pouring vast amounts of concrete around the universe, and then another total anti-American forced Congress to pass and fund a bill to build interstate highways. Since then, the feds have been handing out monies to states and localities for all kinds of new roads and highways. However, Congress has been spending less and less monies over the years, and our infrastructure is starting to be as worn out as Rick Santorum’s ass after “special time” with Glenn Beck.

Spending on infrastructure, as a percentage of the GDP, has dropped to its lowest levels in 20 years. Politicians like ribbon-cuttings and photo-ops, but repairing bridges deemed “functionally obsolete” is not sexy at all, sorry motorists, have a nice trip see you next fall. While things like high-speed rail are the sexy new thang, regular old roads still need some political and financial TLC.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 25% of American bridges are either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. Yikes?

In April, the Chamber of Commerce even took their collective gums off Mitch McConnell’s peener long enough to utter, “We strongly urge Congress to continue to reject cuts to federal program levels that would, in turn, pass the buck to states, localities and the private sector. These cuts are not acceptable to the chamber.”

The Congressional Budget Office has said that in order to keep the highway trust fun in the black, Congress would have to raise fuel taxes by 10 cents a gallon, dramatically reduce spending to about 8 cents for every dollar it spends now or find more money for transportation somewhere else. Chances of Congress actually doing anything other than finding a quick band-aid before pissflapping about which party is at fault? About nil.

That’s because we live in a world where it is better to yell at a Kenyan Socialist Mooslim than to try to make any improvements whatsoever, so we have a dilapidated infrastructure and not much help in sight.

(Then again, the Kenyan Socialist Mooslim himself had a chance to do some "investy stuff" -- legal term -- for our bridges back when they were doing that whole Stimulus shtick, but chose to get it through Congress by giving everyone like a hundred clams to go hand directly to the Walmart heirs instead.)

So this is a GOP/Teabagger self-fulfilling prophecy. Step one: yell about how the gubmint is ineffective at doing anything. Step two: Use austerity measures to drastically reduce spending on everything. Step three: watch government not be able to function because of lack of said resources. Step four: yell about how the gubmint is completely ineffective. Step five: Thunderdome!

The GOP is using the same strategy with Obamacare – yelling about how it sucks while withholding the very funds that could make it more effective, and then putting Kathleen Sebelius IN JAIL for getting outside funding like a common criminal.

So hooray for austerity!! With sequestration slashing funding indiscriminately, we wonder what Teabag-made disaster is up next for our great land? Bad water that causes a disease outbreak? Tainted meat served to an elementary school? Or maybe we’ll continue to fall for the Teabagger lines and the GOP will take over the Senate in 2014. Think of how much fun that will be!

[The Guardian/Washington Post/ASCE/Pew Charitable Trust]


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