Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Colorado Infrastructure: Bad and Worse

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Colorado infrastructure was graded by the Colorado chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. They gave the state’s infrastructure an overall grade of C+ in a report released two weeks ago, rating Colorado’s aviation system highest and its roads as the worst.  It also forecast that 10 of the 13 systems evaluated will deteriorate in the next two years: dam safety, drinking water, wastewater treatment, aviation, roads, environmental cleanup, bridges, education, energy and mass transit.  Billions of dollars in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades are needed.  The anti-investment folks have ruled the roost for a generation.  Now, the bill is coming due.  Will we do the right thing and decide to continue to invest in ourselves and our communities?

Not if the anti-investment crowd has anything to say about it.  They have put out a proposal for bridge “fixes”.

The plan hinges on essentially mortgaging out a number of public buildings to private investors, and the debt would be paid off over the next 10 to 15 years.

This is exactly why I identify them as Cons.  This is a shell game: selling buildings that the public owns will constitute a one-time cash infusion.  That’s great for this year.  What about next year?  Sell more buildings?  Eventually, the public owns nothing, private “investors” own everything and they’ll charge the public to use the places the public used to own.  What the state needs is a regular inflow of money to keep and maintain the property it’s supposed to keep and maintain.  This situation is exactly what Grover Norquist, Douglas Bruce and the rest of the Cons wanted to create.  They wanted to force the issue of whether the public gets to keep its property.  Automobile registration fees should be fair game.  The gas tax hasn’t increased in 17 years, while number of vehicle-miles driven has skyrocketed, placing ever-increasing pressure on the bridges in question.  That’s the other thing the Cons want: something for nothing.  Too bad life doesn’t work out that way.


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