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Old March 20th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #521
pflo777
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I am also surprised by how bad the US higway system is.

But its not, that the US cannot afford maintaining it, they just dont want to.

Countries all over Europe are able to keep their Highways in proper conditions, why should the US, which has much more money not be able to do so?

People in the US are just much to used to bad infrastrucutre

Bad public transportation, bad electicity infrastructure, bad public schools and bad public universities and bad public health care.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #522
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Public universities aren't bad and road network is in a very decent condition for most of the part. I don't know why you concluded that the US highway system is bad. In this topic, we were talking about the road pavement, weren't we?
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Old March 20th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #523
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I, for the life of me, don't know what he's talking about when he says America has bad public universities. I actually think they're quite good. In fact, (I'm not expert) but the higher education setup in the US is exellent from what I know.
Also, bad public health system? We, for the most part, have a private health system in this country.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #524
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pflo777 View Post
I am also surprised by how bad the US higway system is.

But its not, that the US cannot afford maintaining it, they just dont want to.

Countries all over Europe are able to keep their Highways in proper conditions, why should the US, which has much more money not be able to do so?

People in the US are just much to used to bad infrastrucutre

Bad public transportation, bad electicity infrastructure, bad public schools and bad public universities and bad public health care.
...and bad manners from Europeans. Why do so many of them want to live in the U.S. if it's all bad?
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Old March 20th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #525
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Originally Posted by Jaxom92 View Post
What region of the country do you live?
I'm in Atlanta...the warm weather states normally don't have as much road maintenance.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 11:46 PM   #526
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pflo777 View Post
I am also surprised by how bad the US higway system is.

But its not, that the US cannot afford maintaining it, they just dont want to.

Countries all over Europe are able to keep their Highways in proper conditions, why should the US, which has much more money not be able to do so?
I think you have a good point with this. The U.S. spends billions of dollars a many other things besides transportation infrastructure. If we wanted to reorganize our priorities, we could, but we don't. A good question to ask those of us that live in America: why is this? What programs are receiving more attention that maybe don't need to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg
Public universities aren't bad and road network is in a very decent condition for most of the part. I don't know why you concluded that the US highway system is bad. In this topic, we were talking about the road pavement, weren't we?
Indeed, why the pavement has not received proper maintenance in many regions of the country.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #527
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Originally Posted by Jaxom92 View Post
I think you have a good point with this. The U.S. spends billions of dollars a many other things besides transportation infrastructure. If we wanted to reorganize our priorities, we could, but we don't. A good question to ask those of us that live in America: why is this? What programs are receiving more attention that maybe don't need to?
I can think of several programs that AREN'T getting the attention...education for one...but aren't most of the highways maintained by each state? I know the interstates are funded by the fed, but the maintenance and upkeep are the responsibility of the state right?
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Old March 21st, 2007, 12:07 AM   #528
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Yeah, states do most of the funding for maintaining the highways, state and interstates. I guess it's a state level question rather than a federal level one. Though the federal government has much influence on the ability to fund transportation projects. From some of the projects in my area that I've looked at recently, the federal government has dollars in nearly all of the major construction.

And you're right about programs not getting proper attention either. It's another symptom of our misaligned priorities. Everybody wants to fund some project or another, and the vast majority of them are worthy causes. However, even the U.S. government in deficit spending doesn't have enough money to fund everything. As such, programs get slashed here and there and priorities are rearranged frequently. I'm concerned that the projects that form the foundation of this country are receiving less funding than necessary. Education in may parts of the U.S. is lacking. (Washington, incidentally, has nearly 2 billion dollars in surplus and much of that is going to education.) I see transportation as a foundation project that ensures the smooth operation of the economy. A healthy economy means a healthy nation able to support itself and maintain a certain standard of living.

So, the larger question I guess is do people agree with this and if so, what we might do to change the way money is spent? Can we even hope to achieve this goal? I think our transportation infrastructure is one of many indicators of a larger problem.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 03:55 AM   #529
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State priorities

Interesting topic. I believe the condition of our freeways and highways is a State issue. How does your State prioritize this? Yes, there is federal funding for the Interstate system, supplemented by State funding.

My experience is the smaller to mid-size States seem to do a better job with their highways, especially in the West. Could be simple economics...less people, less traffic, less wear and tear, less need overall. For example the Interstates in Montana and Utah are in very good condition, and upgrades are frequent. The larger States in the west, California, Washington, and many large midwestern and eastern states are the worst.

Comes down to how much residents are willing to pay for road improvements. And that varies from State to State.

Sub-topic suggestion: Which State has the worst maintained highways?
Most will vote for their own, but for those who travel, what are the troublesome States?
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Old March 21st, 2007, 06:28 AM   #530
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxom92 View Post
Yeah, states do most of the funding for maintaining the highways, state and interstates. I guess it's a state level question rather than a federal level one. Though the federal government has much influence on the ability to fund transportation projects. From some of the projects in my area that I've looked at recently, the federal government has dollars in nearly all of the major construction.

And you're right about programs not getting proper attention either. It's another symptom of our misaligned priorities. Everybody wants to fund some project or another, and the vast majority of them are worthy causes. However, even the U.S. government in deficit spending doesn't have enough money to fund everything. As such, programs get slashed here and there and priorities are rearranged frequently. I'm concerned that the projects that form the foundation of this country are receiving less funding than necessary. Education in may parts of the U.S. is lacking. (Washington, incidentally, has nearly 2 billion dollars in surplus and much of that is going to education.) I see transportation as a foundation project that ensures the smooth operation of the economy. A healthy economy means a healthy nation able to support itself and maintain a certain standard of living.

So, the larger question I guess is do people agree with this and if so, what we might do to change the way money is spent? Can we even hope to achieve this goal? I think our transportation infrastructure is one of many indicators of a larger problem.
Yeah but unfortunately most of the federal highway funds are going to Southern States. Many fund goes to Katrina affected states like Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama but I heard that other states like The Carolinas and Texas are getting some federal funds too. Those states are currently booming so there are heavy constructions of highways there (Or maybe the fed govs are prioritizing them )

Quote:
Interesting topic. I believe the condition of our freeways and highways is a State issue. How does your State prioritize this? Yes, there is federal funding for the Interstate system, supplemented by State funding.

My experience is the smaller to mid-size States seem to do a better job with their highways, especially in the West. Could be simple economics...less people, less traffic, less wear and tear, less need overall. For example the Interstates in Montana and Utah are in very good condition, and upgrades are frequent. The larger States in the west, California, Washington, and many large midwestern and eastern states are the worst.

Comes down to how much residents are willing to pay for road improvements. And that varies from State to State.

Sub-topic suggestion: Which State has the worst maintained highways?
Most will vote for their own, but for those who travel, what are the troublesome States?
Yeah, you can't blame the U.S. Fed Gov for this issue. To OP, blame Washington State instead or the City Hall of Seattle. One of the state I noticed is Virginia. Their roads have nice maintenance and and are being improve using State Funds[they never ask for Fed Funds except for mega projects). There are more roads and highways being built here too. Unfortunately, DC has the worst maintenance ever. our roads are crappy and too many potholes. Some roads like in Georgetown Area are better now (After 10 years of waiting).

Last edited by Gaeus; March 21st, 2007 at 06:42 AM.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 06:46 AM   #531
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HOV is a joke

IMHO, HOV lanes are a waste of concrete. Seattle is in love with them. Yah, Seattle traffic is SO much better after these are built! It is also discriminatory toward singles, who may not have families to use them. The concept of carpooling is "neato", but in reality does not work for most. Open up all the lanes that the public has paid for. I'm convinced Seattle traffic would move smoother and faster WITHOUT them. Yet, that city continues to pour billions into building more of them. I say, ENOUGH! (I realize this argument will meet nothing but opposition in PC Seattle.)
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Old March 21st, 2007, 07:01 AM   #532
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I totally disagree.

Carpool lanes might not work for you, but they do encourage carpools. More importantly, they allow buses to travel faster.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 07:11 AM   #533
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The bus issue I will concede. But I have personally never met or known of anyone in the Seattle area that put together carpools for the express purpose of being able to use these lanes. More often, it is accidental..."oh, we've got three people, we can use that lane!". Then they proceed to drive 55 in a 60 and slow everyone else down. Sorry, but I think this is an idea that everyone thought would work, but hardly makes a difference. But, back to the busses, I'm all for improved mass transit and am glad to see light rail FINALLY being built in Seattle. But busses on freeways? Not many US cities even operate city busses on freeways. Seriously, I'm all for improving traffic flow, I just don't think HOV is the way to go.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 08:32 AM   #534
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I think that all interstates should be funded by federal government only. It would ensure the even distribution of funds among all states and would keep some uniformity in road quality. At the same time, if a particular stretch is in a bad shape, people will not say something like: "Hey, this road is aweful because [insert a state] is a shithole and doesn't spend enough money on it." For instance, the decrease in road quality on I-80 once you cross Nevada-California border is just shocking.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 08:31 PM   #535
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I think a nationalistic federal takeover of all Interstate maintenance and construction would be a disaster. First, how would they decide who gets what? Politics would seep into it, it always does. Second, for this to happen, federal taxes would have to go up. I say, let the people in their own States decide how much (or little) they want to pay.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 08:50 PM   #536
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If anyone understands Seattle and Washington State politics they know that this (and most other large projects) are argued about for years, sometimes decades, before they are eventually built at five times the original cost.
Example: I-90 across Lake Washington & Mercer Island. First planned in the 1960's, eventually opened in the late 80's, and then a 1990 storm destroyed the old bridge to hasten final completion.

Last edited by pwalker; March 21st, 2007 at 09:16 PM.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 09:30 PM   #537
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A nationalized funding program would have to be distributed on a per-capita basis. Theoretically, the most money would go to the areas with the most drivers. And it can't just be state to state, the divisions of funds must be taken down to the census tract level in order to properly allocate funds to where the roads are. It's not like the federal government doesn't have that data with the census and all.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 09:49 PM   #538
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I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of traffic on the roads, especially trucks, and the extreme temperature changes. These are what rip our roads up more than anything.

For example, if you look at 4 flat states in the United States, the degree to which their temperatures can change within any given year are vast.

Iowa has seen a spread of 74 degrees C (165 degrees F) within that one state, and it's completely flat - hence no mountains or anything to throw off the differences.

North Dakota has seen temperatures swing by 83 degrees C (181 degrees F)
Ohio has seen temperatures swing by 67 degrees C (152 degrees F)
Michigan has seen temperatures swing by 73 degrees C (163 degrees F)

When you have winter temperatures getting down to -51C (-60 F) in the winter, and up to 50C (121 F) in the summer on the same stretch of road, this can really rip up the asphalt/concrete.

We also have 75,376 KM of Interstate Highways to maintain, and 256,000 KM of Highways total in the United States. These are a small portion of the 6,430,364 KM of total roads in the United States - but they carry 75% of our truck traffic.

With 243,023,485 vehicles traveling on these roads, including 6,161,028 semi-trucks with massive amounts of freight, it can be a huge task to keep the roads in good condition.

I've driven from top to bottom, coast to coast, and while there are many roads which aren't in GOOD condition, a vast majority are perfectly fine to drive on. Sure, you might not feel like you're floating smoothly on a cushion of air, but it's really not something that's going to bother you. If we REALLY wanted the roads to be perfect, we're reconstruct them more and spend a lot more money on them. Obviously we're fine having them run down a little more than in Europe before we repave them. It's just chaper, less closures to reconstruct, and something your average citizen is perfectly fine dealing with on a daily basis. Different perspectives I suppose.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 05:28 AM   #539
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Where'd you get those numbers? It's a great way to see the significance of the traffic on our freeways. I might want to call them up for myself at some point, too, so if the source is readily available on the web, it'd be great to have.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 04:34 AM   #540
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
Nevada... Nevada has the best road pavement compared to the rest of America as well as Europe (at least the countries I've driven in). I-80 and all 2-lane roads in the middle of the desert look like they've been paved yesterday. And Nevada drivers, compared to Californians, have better discipline too
I realize now. I was driving today and remembered this thread. I'm talking about the section of US-101 throughout much of the peninsula, holes EVERYWHERE, I'll try to take a picture if I get a chance.

Admittedly, it's very heavily traveled (but shouldn't it, for exactly the same reason, have excellent pavement?)

I was in Las Vegas, so many Californians, didn't notice much better driving habits.
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