A House Divided

I came across an interesting image this week:

Does that look like something debuting this summer on the SyFy channel? Pretty high-tech, huh? That is a new “Eco-City” being built in Tianjin, China. Let me restate that, it’s currently being built in China. Now compare that to the biggest infrastructure story of the week here in the United States: So China is building a futuristic new eco-friendly city — with public transit built right in no less — and here we are scratching our heads as our gas mains explode around the country. We hear a lot about our crumbling infrastructure and the dangers is presents, but I don’t think the public understands just how bad things are out there. Our bridges are collapsing, our gas mains are exploding and some of our transit systems would make MacGyver proud with how they keep things running. But this is where our house divides. Sure our bridges may collapse, but when you are driving down a newly paved road you forget about that, especially if it didn’t happen directly to you. That becomes a ‘their’ problem, not a ‘my’ problem. And now we have the government handing out money left and right for new projects. Awesome. I applaud the investment in transit — any investment in transit. The problem with that is that there is no investment in the crumbling infrastructure. I am sure I will get emails about how wrong I am on this point, but while we’re spending billions of dollars on a fleet of new warships we can’t get Congress to agree on a transit funding bill. This is like the guy who rolls up in his brand new Lexus to the broken down home that he hasn’t spent a dime on since he bought it. Hey, the roof hasn’t fallen in on him yet, so it must be fine. In his speech on slavery, Lincoln said the issue would not cease until a crisis was reached and passed. We’ve had a bridge collapse. We’ve had regional power outages. We’ve had a building explode. What other crises do we need before we catch on? Our house is divided and it will not stand for much longer — literally — until we do something about it. Thanks for reading the MT Position, updated every Friday. For those interested in instant updates, you can now get your latest Mass Transit news fix via Twitter. Fred fred.jandt@masstransitmag.com Connect to me via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter!