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September 1st, 2008
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There’s a new administration in Washington, D.C., and President Barack Obama has promised that he will address America’s infrastructure needs. What would you tell the president about infrastructure problems in your neighborhood, city, or state? Whether it’s your long commute, high gas prices, or flodding in your community, we want to hear your stories. In the coming months, we’ll create the ability for you to send us photos and video about America’s infrastructure successes and failures — but for now, please use the comment form below to tell the new president what he should do.

  • Bob Freeman

    I can’t believe how horrible the NYC subway is, and the fact that I pay two bucks for slow, dirty trains. Now they’re talking about upping the fares, and for what? The whole thing reeks of profiteering on the backs of the working men and women of the city. With gas prices as high as they are, NYC should work on improving the subway and mass transit systems at the same cost, instead of hiking prices and making it harder for working people to get to their jobs!

  • Karrie Myers

    Honestly, the subway depresses me now. It used to hold so much nostalgia and now it’s just this thing I have to endure to get from A to B. The one good thing about MTA price hikes? It’s forcing me to get some exercise and WALK.

  • Amy Torres

    I really miss tokens and human beings selling me tokens … even when they are there now, it seems as if they won’t sell me the metrocard I need. There are all these rules and limitations. Or we’re all banished to machines and the suspense of watching the guy at the front of the line have his money swallowed and nothing come out. What do you do then? Jump the turnstile? Murphy’s Law says the one time you do that a policeperson will inevitably spot you and voila! now you’re arrested instead of on your way to work.

  • Ken M.

    The NYC subway is probably one of the few places where billionaires, think Mike Bloomberg, the working class, the non working class and everything in between can all come together for a brief moment in time and exchange glances and an occasional friendly or unfriendly word or two. It’s a place where some try to earn a living by pouring out their troubles and or talents.

    The NYC subway and the diversity of clientele it serves may be uncomfortable to those who benefit from a privileged lifestyle or thrive on first class accommodations since they are forced to share a space with a person they may have been taught to fear or avoid. At the same time, the subway can provide a sense of hope to those who are down-trotted as they may get an opportunity to visualize success in its many forms.

    I guess the main advantage to rise in gas prices and the quest to conserve energy is now we are forced to stand together, even if it’s on an overcrowded train, and are given yet another opportunity to realize our commonalities first-hand and not through the lens of another.

  • Jason J.

    I lived in NYC for four years and have recently returned to the Midwest. I agree that MTA could be doing a better job of keeping the trains cleaner and safer, but New Yorkers should also realize how much of a blessing it is to have access to such an intricate and expansive public transportation system. There are millions of people in cities across America who do not have access to jobs and educational opportunities simply because they don’t have the means to get around and because their city officials do not view public transportation as a major priority. With rising gas prices, I wished my currrent Midwestern city had a transportation system somewhat close to New York’s!

  • Michele

    I don’t have many complaints about the NYC subway system, it is fairly well-maintained and I can get almost anywhere in the 4 boroughs (which is pretty darn cool. The only complaint I have is that the 7 train is seems to be crowded at all times…it seems as though no matter what time I take the train -mornings, evenings,afternoons, weekends -it is crowded. It has to be the most well-populated line in the entire subway system!.

  • Virginia Manning

    I use the PATH instead of MTA; while it is slightly cleaner, the people still have absolutely no manners. I am not sure what this complete fascination is with standing at the doors, as if they will never open. And the pushing to literally walk through you to get on the train. I am not imaginary, nor can you walkthrough me, so pushing only makes my morning more annoying. In
    Jersey City, we have a VERY diverse population. In the NYC boroughs, it is a bit more segregated. Here in JC, we have every custom possible at all times. Which is great if you look from afar, but can be stressing when it is combating you every morning. It is not anyone’s fault if they do not realize that carrying five large shopping bags and slamming them into you is not cool! And the oversized backpacks have got to be outlawed! People aside, the biggest issue facing the PATH is the schedule and lack of evening/late night trains. While it services the bustling Hoboken, Light Rail trains to surrounding areas and Jersey City which boasts more than 500K residents, I think that having a consistent schedule would be helpful. And not waiting an hour an 1/2 for a train past 11pm, would be outstanding!
    One a lighter note, since I haven’t traveled the MTA every day, I haven’t had a serious cold since!!!

  • Natasha

    Sometimes I’ll get a good subway car – bright, clean, properly air conditioned/heated – however, there are times when I get on a train and don’t want to touch anything and wish I’d lose my sense of smell. Does anyone know how often the cars are cleaned? If a car smells strongly of urine, and yet there is no wetness to be seen, when on earth did it get there and why hasn’t it been cleaned??

    On a separate note, can someone start working on the LOCAL 6 train so it doesn’t fly by 33rd street? And then when it does stop, it won’t stop at Astor Place – I have to get off at 14th and wait for the next train. How annoying!

  • Not conservative not liberal

    I can’t believe how you still after 75 years you make Americans to be victims of the big bad conspiracy. Woe is you, who dumb down all humans to advance your agenda of dumbing down all humans except for yourselves who have all the answers. Every American choses their life, no one forces it on them. You are truly ignorant.
    P. S. You say that The Robert Schleigh family in Hemet, CA has transportation costs of $1600. per month. DUHHHH, who chose to have a 72 mile commute? That would be quite a stupid choice. Mr. Schleigh is a victim all right, of his own ignorant choices. You are victims of your own ignorance to be mal contents instead of constructive problem solvers. Trying being positive instead of negative. Are you making smart or stupid choices. I grew up in NYC and left 30 years ago to make a better life. You over and over prove I made the right choice to get away from always negative New Yorker media bs artists.

  • Robert Schleigh

    Not conservative not liberal
    Ignorant! When you only have 5 minutes of a much larger story! You don’t now me or the millions of others that have made the same CHOICE. That’s right I said choice. I chose to try and give my family a better life.
    Did you not listen to what I said? Here let me tell you again, we know what we got ourselves into, we are hard working honest people that want to and will pay our bills. The amount we spend on transportation is for everything, payment, gas, maintenance, insurance. Unfortunately things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to. We are very positive people who want the best for our family. Don’t judge people on 5 minutes of clips from a TV show. That is what makes YOU the IGNORANT one!
    If you want more of our story check this out http://www.ourmelody.net, this is what helped to put in the financial situation we are in. This is what pushed us in that direction, gasoline prices just pushed us over the edge.
    We will survive

  • L Lee

    I’ve just caught a glimpse of your show about SoCals commuting problem. It was very interesting but unfortunately, it did not show all the various solutions that have been applied
    to deal our traffic problem. If you want to see a working model in how to reduce traffic and costs, I invite you to examine how the UCLA transportation office has managed to get the majority of the UCLA community to commute without driving a single occupancy vehicle.
    Mass transit is subsidized in the form of reduced bus fares,metro passes, carpooling (reduced parking fees)and vanpooling. The vanpools are very popular for people living in the exurbs and saves alot a cash. My commute is
    120 miles roundtrip but the monthly costs
    are about $200. I save on gas, insurance rates, wear and tear on my car, and no parking fees and alot of time. I believe metrolink also has a vanpool program along with various private vanpools. This is a great and quick solution whose main roadblock is only some organization and a change in attitude!

  • Michael Lauridsen

    I’m Michael, Roberts car pool buddy. I too made a choice. We moved up here also having the hopes of a better life for our children. I worked here in town for 2 1/2 years before gas prices even hit 2 dollars a gallon and still could not make ends meet. As a GM “WORLD CLASS” Technician, I found that it was very difficult to earn a living in a “commuter” town. So I chose to work in San Diego. I’m getting a double whammy. Not only do I commute with Robert, the automotive industry in which I work in is also suffering for the same reasons, high gas prices, housing prices declining weak economy. It’s hard to earn a living when the people aren’t bring their vehicles in for regular repairs and maintenance because they can’t afford it.
    Hemet is approx 70% commuters. I guess we are all IGNORANT.

  • Melissa Damaschke

    My name is Melissa Damaschke and I work in Detroit for Sierra Club’s Great Lakes Program. Our story of infrastructure is unique in the sense that it pertains to water and environmental justice concerns.

    The Detroit Wastewater Treatment Facility is
    the largest discharger in the Great Lakes basin,
    processing between 700 million and 1 billion
    gallons of municipal and industrial wastewater
    each day. Heavy rainfall events or melting
    snow often overload the system, causing
    sewage overflows. The city reported over 200
    sewage overflows in 2005, earning it the lowest
    grade of “D” on the Sierra Legal Defense
    Fund’s “2006 Great Lakes Sewage Report
    Card”.

    The high cost of upgrading and expanding the
    aging sewage system, among other things,
    forced the Detroit Water and Sewerage
    Department to raise its water rates numerous
    times in recent years. Water — a basic human
    right — became unaffordable to many
    residents, thousands of whom had their water
    shut off because of a failure to pay their bills.

    The City of Detroit has now adopted the Water
    Affordability Plan, which when implemented
    will help protect low income residents from
    water shutoffs.

    This story highlights the connection between
    sewage infrastructure and drinking water and
    the critical importance of maintaining both
    systems and keeping these basic services
    affordable and available in all Great Lakes
    cities.

    The federal government can and must play a
    role in helping Great Lakes cities like Detroit
    upgrade their aging water infrastructure by
    implementing the Great Lakes Regional
    Collaboration Strategy.

    For more information, go to http://www.sierraclub.org/greatlakes.

  • Cindy

    I am a 20 year-old university student in NYC. Half of the reason I chose to attend school here is because I would never be required to own, drive, maintain, pay insurance for, or fill up a car – a reality that I would confront had I chosen to stay in the exurban midwest, where I grew up. I love being able to make a 5-minute walk to pick up orange juice. The MTA is far from perfect, but it is far and away the best system we have in the states. It enables me to live an automobile-free life, for which I am extremely grateful.

    I think that the vast majority of Americans buy into the illusion of ‘choice’ that we are spoonfed by people who want our money. We can have any type of car we want, any color, any size. But where is our freedom to NOT own a car? Why are the vast majority of Americans denied the simple right to a safe and pleasant walk to the store? Why are we by and large denied the option of public transportation? The truth is that we have no choice – we are trapped by our forced reliance on the automobile – for the sake of lining somebody’s pocket! With things going the way they are now, people will soon no longer be able to use their cars and the economy will come to a grinding halt. We need some serious infrastructure revision and public transit investment – and FAST.

  • Helen O. McGrail

    1. First thing is to define what is considered “infrastructure”. Not as easy as it seems when one considers that to depressed areas outside Mid-Atlantic tri-state area the for profit MTA (not quite public, not quite private) might not fit the bill. Obama stated he was looking at FDR methods so let’s start there.

    2. Sin Tax. It should be crystal clear that the repeal of prohibition was more to increase tax revenue than to curtail crime. FDR realized he needed money to fund the WPA programs & create new employment. You can always raise income taxes but it would be a moot point as unemployment continues to rise. Legalized prostitution & marijuana would add a great deal to our tax base w/o adding additional taxes to those who least can least afford it. Think about all those Wall Street high-rollers seeking solace in a paid embrace. Why not tax them as they’re stroked and told they are not really as evil as everyone says they are.

    3. Bond programs are another option. The continuous interest rate cuts penalize the fiscally prudent Americans to the point that we actually LOSE money if we attempt to save it. The rate of inflation is greater than what we can accrue by trying to squirrel away for a rainy day. We need a PROACTIVE approach to salvage what vestiges remain of the comfortable life style to which we’ve become accustom. One that rewards the savers w/ higher interest rates. For example we need quasi public/private 10 yr. bond programs creating private alternative energy cooperatives at the end w/high yield to bond holders rather than to use government bail outs to rectify the credit/energy/employment crisis.  People would invest in these rather than 2% CDs or money market accounts. It would be an investment in the broad spectrum of our futures not just our pocketbooks. Wouldn’t you buy bonds in a project for, let’s say, wind turbines or affordable solar receptors to reduce our energy costs & carbon footprint, that ends as a cooperative owned by the original employees of the bond project & yielded a guaranteed 7 or 8%?   The usual complacent civil servant mentality would be quelled by the ultimate goal of ownership in a prospering cooperative.   Don’t you think the areas of this nation that have become manufacturing job deficient would benefit? Bond programs can easily be applied locally.

    4. A glaring source of funds would be the abolition of earmarks and redirection of federal subsidies. Last year the Senate passed the farm subsidies bill, yet again but this time replete w/ $16B in new earmarks, to produce MORE non-edible corn for ethanol.   This means higher meat, chicken, dairy, refined food, etc., for all and record profits for the farmers (corporate farms) producing corn for ethanol. There are methods other than corn to produce ethanol but the US & its lobbyists refuse to address them.   Sugarcane or sugar beets can produce ethanol and not have the impact that corn produced for ethanol has on our food economy. Brazil has been successfully producing ethanol from sugarcane for decades. Multitudes of studies show sugar beets are also a good source for biofuel. The lobbyists-pandering candidates refuse to acknowledge it while passing still more farm subsidies to already affluently bloated corn mega-farmers. Don’t you think that Puerto Rico & Hawaii could benefit from subsidies to  grow sugarcane for ethanol? Too bad they don’t have strong lobbyists. Even Cuba could straighten out their economy w/its sugarcane converted to fuel and quite possibly her relationship with the US — she now has something we want and need. We trade with China, why not Cuba?
    Three Card Monty by the senate electorate continues to rape the American populous.

    5. Increased employment means increased revenue from income taxes without increasing the rate of taxation on individuals. A war economy should be a boom economy and not a bust. Gee, what’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that we grant defense contracts to foreign firms. For example: $292M US government contract to British firm Aegis Defense System which run by a man of decidedly questionable ethics. Tim Spicer – a man who was once investigated for gun running. Tight, not just “tighter”, control over to whom government contract are granted. It should be mandatory to manufacture in the US or to use American labor. Labor which is either union or working with comparable pay, benefits & work conditions to those in a union shop.

  • McKinney Wallace

    We need help, and I mean help very quickly. Our roads and Bridges anr in a sad state of repair, and that take money, which we can not afford. In order to raise funds for the Transportation infrasturture, I would add three (.03) cent to each gallon of fuel that is sold at the pump. And make sure that added tax is used to repair our infrastructure, and please do not use it to balance the budget.

  • Beverly Walters

    The traffic situation where I live (namely the Staten Island Expressway in Staten Island New York) and in Brooklyn (Belt Parkway and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway) is horrendous. Besides the public who live in Staten Island, others have to drive through Staten Island on the “Expressway” in order to get from the state of New Jersey to Brooklyn and Long Island New York. I was just mentioning to my husband the other day, that another highway should be built above the one on the ground. That way, double the amount of vehicles could be driven in a more efficient and safer way. This would be a win/win resolution. Jobs would be created and the public would be appeased. The way it is now, it would be impossible to leave this borough in any kind of emergency. Thank you!

  • Paula Renee Wilk

    Our nation’s bridges are greatly in need of repair before there is another disaster like the collapsed bridges in CT & MN a few years ago. Thank you.

  • Y. Frempong-Manson

    GENERAL COMMENT
    Congratulations! Our President Elect. Firstly, leadership can be a stressful job but can be the most prestigious like this. The best leader is not the most talented, but the most dedicated. If you can organise and take care of your own family in truth and in spirit may mean you can take care of millions of families put together.
    See the world as someone’s property and all, all things there in are equally important to him. The plankton is as great as the whale; the algae is equally important like the great Excelsoir; and the common little river is the same like the Mississippi for if the least is not cared for the most can be forgotten. All continents are the same as well as races and human beings, when it comes to decision making for, ‘if an angel decides to kill all the evil ones in the name of peace, may forget he can be more evil’.
    When it comes to Africa it is only ‘mind-set and organisation’ we need.
    One thing you may not forget is, FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BRAVE! The eyes, ears and mouths ready to speak and critizise are more than the constructive ones. Love America! Love the World and Love Peace! May Peace and Prosperity follow your Leadership!

  • Lynette Valetutti

    My brother’s restaurant in Chelsea is now closed after a huge water main break underneath his building. The gas was shut off and as a result, gas leaks were detected. The infrastructure(pipes, water mains, etc.) is outdated by at least 25 years!It is unknown how long it will take to accomplish the repair work- there are several businesses and apartments (peoples lives) at risk. Good economy or bad, nothing can excuse this total disregard and lack of oversight of NYC’s basic lifelines. If you want people to live and thrive in this environment then you have to ensure their safety.

  • marge kennedy

    Use GM bailout money to retool their factories and have them build cross-country mass transit, including high-speed rail lines so we can leave the planes and get a few hundred or a few thousand miles w/o having to fly or drive.

  • Rebekkah

    Welfare reform that works!

  • gary j

    stop mass immigration. they are a burden to the u.s.instead of paying for their medical bills,housing,etc. we could build and maintain our infrastructure.

  • Sherry Appel

    Last week (Nov. 25), the American Association of State Highway and Tranportation Officials (AASHTO) launched “What the New President and Congress Should Know About Transportation”, inviting one and all to go to http://www.IToldThePresident.org and post a comment or video about their greatest transportation concerns. Already we have received 400 comments and the posted videos have been viewed 4,000 times. We plan to continue this campaign until the Inauguration and will then provide summaries and information to the Administration and relevant Congressional comments. The project one of a number of efforts underway to raise public awareness about the important roles played by transportation in determining quality of life and economic prosperity.

    The comments posted on BluePrint America are exactly what we are seeking. Is there a possibility of partnering with you on this effort? We would appreciate your consideration and invite you and your audience to join in our efforts to advance the debate on this important issue.

  • Len Resto

    I would strongly urge the new President to make high-speed rail corridors a priority. These would replace “short trip” airline flights which are costly and still cause the airlines to lose money. For example, a high-speed rail corridor could be New York City to Pittsburgh, PA. For air travel, all airports must be brought under the umbrella of the Federal Government. To have a city control one airport (Chicago) and a public agency control 3 airports (Port Authority of New York & New Jersey), makes no sense, does not promote “best practices” and contributes to the “Patch Work” quilt system we now have.

  • Greg Burman

    !please! Don’t repeat the second-worst mistake of the 1930’s. Buy America is going to do exactly what Smoot-Hawley did to our Grandparents. You can’t lead while you are covering your butt.

  • Michael F. Sarabia

    Your program on a commuter rail back East was very convincing and you mentioned, in passing, the similar benefits that may come with California’s High Speed Rail. I am, or was, against this HS Rail but your program made me wonder if I missed something, some facts. Perhaps you can do a more detailed program on the $9 Billion Bond (barely approved) on a system that may cost $40 to $49 Billion (wrote Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee) and claims it would be cheaper than flying and will need no state subsidies.
    They said 100 trains would travel daily but I cannot believe that. They said it would travel at 220 mph and I cannot believe it could be faster than an airplane flying at twice the speed and only two-thirds the distance than the railway.
    Are they telling the truth? Or, is this a scam to get voters to pay for every passenger?
    I really do not know or have any other facts, beyond the above.
    How about passenger security? Will they need to duplicate the system in seven airports?
    How noisy will a 220 mph train be?
    Will they need two 600 mile long fences to protect the rails? Japan used elevated rails but Japan is much smaller than California -so is Europe.
    Who is right? What is the truth?
    Will the number of people working in the HS Rail be more or less than those that lose jobs in Airlines?
    Is this a Zero-Sum job game?
    I would say let market forces decide but, the banks have decided, they will not fund HS Rail on their own. What do the banks know that the voters in California need to know?
    Please, Help. Thanks.

  • Joel Mariano

    Sent to the GOP RNC and Republican Congress:

    Who are Republicans to quibble over less than a trillion dollars of
    taxpayer money? Your actions insult the American people.
    Your party had no problem rubber stamping the $10
    trillion of just the National Debt ($200K/American citizen) Bush
    accrued during his eight years. President Clinton had a surplus
    (negative zero dollars). Trickle down is not working. Where was
    Reaganomic free market practice when comrade Bush provided socialism for the rich
    banker CEOs with $350 billion? Capitalism only for the poor is not fair
    here. $20 billion for CEOs and the purchase of a bank in China for $6
    billion…give me a break. If China wanted to nuke us financially,
    they would just ask back the $2 trillion your party allowed Bush to
    borrow. Does this demonstrate patriotic principles?

    It looks like the Republicans just want to win the upcoming elections
    so you can reward the ultra rich with more tax cuts. Don’t you people
    get it? There are already so many people who can’t pay taxes. Those
    that could will horde it at a time like this. Bankruptcy surpassed
    divorces many years ago, and the number one cause of bankruptcy is the
    need to feed one’s children.

    I hope the concentration camps of neocon
    legacy are not used for all those people freaking out because they
    can’t feed their children. Those are the people that won’t be able to
    pay congress for their best lobbyist-fortified-interests–let alone
    prosper from tax cuts….

    I hope green-lighted Stem Cell research discovers many cures so that Big Pharma will
    not continue to be rich enough to own so many of you and the
    Democrats. Nancy Reagan was so righteous in snubbing Bush for
    ignoring the suffering of so many people for the sake of securing Big
    Pharma’s profits from costly meds and doctor vacations for prescribing the quotas.
    Heart disease, cancers, Alzheimer’s, and other such diseases should NOT be a part of your
    profit motives–think about that when your loved ones become Big
    Pharma cash cows of suffering. When Kaiser and Nixon figured out
    denial was profitable, the group-think of healthcare as profitable
    gave birth to health insurance HMOs–mainly insuring the millions of
    dollars to the CEOs and you guys–including limousine liberals like
    Daschle–to be owned by insurance corporations….

    If your party really cared about the American people over your
    wallets, you would provide a plan for a new industry that could pull
    us out of this mess your party has mostly got us into. Instead of
    quibbling over the Democrats over a budget that is less than 10% of
    the debts you got US into during the past 8 years, inspire a new
    industry, I don’t mean the usual disaster capitalism via
    Haliburton-like ways (they are the true winners of the Middle East
    wars–the American tax payers lost here too). The only reason I can
    think of why we are still there is that Big Oil can’t get American
    CEO’s confidence that they will not be kidnapped and get their heads
    chopped off–meanwhile we bribe warlords with additional taxpayer
    money to keep the peace. So backing out before securing oil profits
    has caused a standstill for $10 billion/month of taxpayer money mostly to
    Haliburton. Who obviously would benefit from the tax-cut mantra for the rich.

    Exxon is the most profitable corporation in the history of humanity,
    and your party would rather cut their taxes. If they were patriotic,
    they would make solar panels cheaper so people could start a new
    industry with that (Big Oil owns most of the solar PV patents, China
    mostly makes them, it was an American invention). I and many people
    are freaking out over what your party has done. Offering a solution
    with a new industry that would generate more money for Americans is
    the only way we can get out of this because the Baby Boomers are
    starting to retire and take their money out of the markets for Big
    Pharma’s expensive meds….

    The only solution I’ve seen so far is offered by:

    solarroadways.com

    It is analogous to the Railroads being built to provide
    infrastructure for the Industrial Revolution to take place. Can your
    party stomach ushering in the Energy Revolution instead of coddling
    immediate gratification of Saudi sheiks and enrich those that want to
    blow US up? It’s now Peak Oil. Prove us Progressives wrong by
    foregoing Big Oil or Big Pharma profits for the future of our
    children. Everybody can see through your special interest motives
    after Bush–so it’s time to represent the middle class for a change.
    Capitalism is great when there is capital left to use.

    I will have hope for Republicans if they can transcend old-money
    corporate interests to pull us out of this mess your greedy associates
    have mostly gotten us into with disaster capitalism and unrealistic
    mortgage schemes. I believe the Dems are just the lesser of two evils
    when it comes to greasing the wheels. However, right now there is no
    engine to move those wheels even though the recent bill is really
    lubricating it. Your party quibbles about how we will pay for
    this–well what about the ten times more of debts incurred during the
    past eight years? It is shameful and the reason why our country is in danger of a catastrophe.

    What happened to all that money? Wealth does not disappear, it merely
    gets transferred (or inflate printed at the convenience of the Federal Reserve
    since it has not been backed up by gold for many years). Harvest time
    for all the banks since the Federal Reserve is controlled mostly by
    their interest anyway…. Since it’s not backed up by gold, it can
    only be propped with confidence in our markets.

    Please offer a solution that will increase our confidence instead of starting wars for Big Oil or
    tax cuts for Haliburton. It will take integrity and patriotism–not corporate interest (even though they got most of you there). North Korea could have lopped a nuke to San Francisco, but they just had twigs for their citizens to eat–not crude oil…. The defense issues fall apart here.

    I’ve also been deeply offended when the Republicans used their
    so-called ‘fiscal responsibility’ by spending our tax money to have a
    national gossip session over President Clinton’s office misbehavior–a
    personal indiscretion–for over $150 million for impeachment. Compare
    this value with the 9/11 Bipartisan Commission Investigation budget
    the Bush/Cheney Neoconservative Republicans who deemed to only be
    initially $3 million, and was increased to a mere $15 million. Whatever
    happened to family values? These cases show gossip trumping tragedy
    in terms of monetary value in the recent history of your party.

    As far as the tragedy of 9/11, wasn’t the CIA started to prevent
    events like Pearl Harbor? What happened to that? Instead, color code
    panic-mongering Homeland Security was started and somehow all that
    money also enabled the Talibans to increase heroin use among the
    developed world’s youth by 90% (including our own)–seven years in the
    making (PBS Frontline). If they can’t prevent heroin from coming into the county, how
    can they prevent bombs? Our jails are filled with heroin addicts.
    This all sounds too much like the drug traffic histories of Vietnam
    and the wars in South America where drugs were also used to lay the
    ground work for disaster capitalism….

    Speaking of jails, I just heard the budgets to spend for incarceration
    now exceed funding to our universities for the first time. A case of putting more
    monetary value in the imprisoning of individuals rather than
    educating them. Is this because our jails are more profitable than
    our schools? Instead of releasing violent criminals in your wish to make our country fail, they should
    at least have these people work to help our economy since all congress
    seems to do is reward the multinational corporations that declare
    losses that are actually in overseas bank accounts after giving away
    American jobs to cheaper overseas labor….

    I heard five years ago that California alone has a
    larger penal population than all of Europe’s prisons. No wonder your party embarrassed
    US to the world by sinking to terrorist levels and stepping on our constitution with torture.
    Infringing on basic citizen rights to privacy is something your party has in common with fascists.

    Also, it’s individuals making up to $500K per year that pay most of
    the taxes–not corporations. If you make more than $500K per year,
    you are usually too rich to pay taxes when you can put assets in all
    the tax-free accounts in different world banks via a team of
    accountants and lawyers you can hire to help figure it all out for
    that tax year. Your beloved corporations that own most of you deposit money into
    overseas tax-free accounts and declare the money as a loss so they can fill your pockets with
    “donations” from lobbyist directives.

    The Democrats are not much better though. I am losing my faith in a
    centralized government in general for allowing us to hang ourselves in
    an abyss of bad credit for short term gains of wealth in your pockets.
    I sincerely hope we Americans can transcend consumer zombiness and
    manifest a more visionary destiny sacrificed by our previous
    generations. Especially when the European pioneers slaughtered 100
    million native Americans to ’start’ this country (and our
    representatives act so holier than thou to over the 6 million killed in the
    Armenian Holocaust with the Turks…). Now they are at least allowed
    to take some of our money in the casinos since they can further enrich your beloved tobacco & liquor sponsors.

    All you need to do is search “tent cities” in youtube.com and you will
    be informed why tax cuts will not help people in a catastrophe you
    helped to create. Again, I sincerely hope we don’t need to use those
    concentration camps ex-lushes (three DUIs each) George and Dick left us in case of Martial Law
    from people suddenly in poverty when they are not used to it.

    If your party wants to get its groove back, provide a solution, and
    stop the next election posturing. Think about how we can increase
    exports (not the fake value muscled-in kind either). Inspire and
    capitalize on the brilliance or our citizens before they leave this
    great country in search of jobs and healthcare elsewhere. A brain
    drain will surely be our downfall.

    I will be grateful if you can answer all this–please tell me if I’m
    wrong. Many people who don’t have the money for tax to be cut are simply
    more worried about feeding their children. What is your financially egalitarian solution?
    For the sake of this country, please work for majority interest
    instead of the few ultra rich multinational corporations that fund
    your campaign’s next election. Obama won because he reached out to the
    nation’s youth and majority–not the bank & corporate elite Enrons of
    today that seem to propel most of your party’s efforts. Bush already rewarded the “foxes
    who raided the henhouse” before he left (despite former Controller General, David Walker’s warnings several years before that the financial sky was falling…).

  • Jenita McGowan

    There is truly a grassroots movement happening in the State of Ohio in support of passenger rail. All Aboard Ohio has launched a social networking site: ohiopassengerrail.ning.com and people are really starting to connect and become active in demanding increased and improved passenger rail in Ohio. I’d love to see PBS document some of the bottom-up change happening in Ohio.

  • markbnj

    4-20-09: tonight shows a program on rail infrastructure improvements needed:
    Look here: at my blog: http://sos-newdeal.blogspot.com/2008/02/proposal-transportation-and-energy.html

    Last year (officially) I proposed that every single eisenhower highway in the country be equipped with a new two track Heavy rail line.

    This is very simple to understand: A truck getting on US95 south in Maine could park it’s trailer on a Heavy rail train in Maine, and (park/sleep/pick up another load) until the trailer is unloaded in Florida.
    Imagine if ALL the freight followed the main passener roads in the country.

    ALL existing reasons for using trucks over trains will disappear. This will: improve the earth (global warming), reduce diesel usage, make ROAD traffic better, etc.

    THIS, ( http://sos-newdeal.blogspot.com/2008/12/auto-industry-rest-in-peace.html) in conjunction with a REAL bailout of the AUTO industry (to save the jobs), that would make the auto industries into TRANSPORTATION companies would keep US auto industry jobs, and keep all those (1 out of 10) US jobs working.

    SO: if we support HEAVY (as well as light) rail:

    1) Detroit can concentrate on MASS/heavy transit manufacturing, instead of AUTOS.
    2) We can START to reduce our heavy dependence on TRUCKS for moving all our goods in this country
    3) We can rebuild our RAIL system with a smart, easy to use NEWly designed rail system that will ease transportation (and perhaps decrease costs, and globe destroying gases)
    4) we can all get somewhere faster on our highways, because there will be fewer trucks on the road
    5) as a side benefit, those traveling long distances could also be allowed to park their cars on these trains for real long distance travel.

    So, we have a huge set of possible positives. We just need to DO IT!

    see my blog at sos-newdeal.blogspot.com

  • markbnj

    See a footnote to this post, where I include a few pictures from Google maps, illustrating the concept of a rail line going down Route 95, where the ‘truck-farms’ live.
    (here: http://sos-newdeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/blueprint-for-america-high-speed-rail.html )

    PS: Happy Earth YEAR!

  • mel

    Since this is the My Story section, I will keep this about me and my choice to give up a car ten years ago. I grew up in Texas and we love our cars. Owning my first car – a Bronco II – was very exciting. I was also attending Texas A&M and getting a degree in Civil Engineering. I hated my Transportation Engineering class – lots of work designing highways, interchanges, even timing the lights to get traffic flowing. I only understand now that I hated this class because it was car-centric. What about all the other was to move people and goods around? Finally, while living in Seattle and taking advantage of the One-Less-Car challenge, I gave up my auto – a cute little VW New Bettle – and have been happier ever since. I learned to use the bus, plan trips better, even joined a car coop (FlexCar) to use when I needed a truck for gardening or a little sports car to have a fun weekend getaway. I’ve learned so much on my journey to a car-free life and it has all been rewarding. I say that even knowing that now, living in NYC, we still don’t properly fund out subways, buses, light rail, ferries, and other mass transit system. We also subsidize those driving cars which is really counter-intuitive since they not only clog our street but harm our environment and health! I’ve embraced the car-free life and don’t think I could ever go back, even if I moved back to Texas.

  • mel

    Forgot the “tell the President what he should do” which is to pass a Transportation Bill this year that uses federal funds to improve mass transit options and forces states (Albany, listen up!) to charge drivers to use roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. – even a possible tax on the most polluting vehicles (like in London). Spend any funds on mass transit and cleaner goods movement systems. Support international clean transportation efforts – MARPOL, etc..

  • Charley Kellermann

    If we are to embark on such a dramatic & expensive enterprise; then we should use the opportunity to finally complete our transition to the Metric System of measurement.

    Most (Federal) government agencies have been metric for years, including the Defense Department and our Customs & Border Protection service. Unfortunately this is not the case with the private sector and society at large; and this delay has imposed a great deal of unnecessary costs on our economy.

    Furthermore, we are one of only three remaining countries on the planet who are still using the English system. The other two are poor developing nations that retain their colonial units of measurement; namely Myanmar (Burma) and Liberia.

    Do we really want to be known as a 21st Century Superpower that still relies on a medieval system of measurement? I think not.

    If we are to “Rebuild America” we should “Make it Metric”.

  • p fin

    We must move towards True Cost economics immediately. Motorists’ taxes should be based on a combination of vehicle weight, emissions, MPG, miles, and size. This should feed directly into a dedicated transportation fund which would distribute funds not on a status quo basis but on a current-needs-vs-desired-future model, seeking to reinforce existing infrastructure while also looking towards the future with an eye on relevant transportation planning & design.

  • Paul Klinkman

    Dear Mr. President,

    ARPA-Energy is looking for transformative energy-saving product development. By June 6 I will be submitting a new transit system design, a new solar electricity design, a new algae biofuel production design and a new way of heating buildings and greenhouses to ARPA-Energy.

    All of these products would be cost effective now if developed, and all are far beyond the state of the art. The transit system solves most of the known personal rapid transit issues, is extremely ADA-compliant, and drops transit prices to perhaps 20 cents per passenger mile, which if you look at the cost of new urban freeways is pretty cheap. The algae production design has a target of $2/gallon for biodiesel, and it works on inexpensive land such as in Nevada and in Alaska during their summers. The solar electricity target is $.02 per kilowatt-hour, and you’re paying $.10-.15/kwh at the electric meter. The new greenhouse drops the facilities price for hothouse crops in winter by about 2/3, and equally does wonders for home heating costs. Furthermore, all of the above estimates are a factor of 2 above what I hope I can do, but I like easy targets. Patents in process. I’m prolific. The transit system alone racked up 100 different innovations.

    I need ARPA-Energy to simply recognize that invention is an uncommon skill. A commercial jet pilot has uncommon skill, and she/he is never asked to own her/his own airline, to submit grant proposals for flying, to take the tickets, or to represent the airline in court as needed. What I really need is to team up with partners who can handle the business ends of these four potential companies. If ARPA-Energy would put out a tiny bit of empathy for inventors and hook them up with business resources, ARPA-Energy could win. You could win.

    The fate of these proposals, either yes or no, lies in ARPA-Energy recognizing that an inventor is not necessarily a complete entrepreneur. Also, they’re demanding that the concept papers be pared down to 8 pages 12 point type 1 inch margins.

    In the past I have gotten pedantic, legalistic rejections of truly transformative proposals, where the reviewers didn’t dispute the product’s great merit, but complained that I didn’t explain things well enough in their tiny constrained format. In one case a reviewer just didn’t understand the physics of what I was describing. Did they bother to call me up for clarifications? I don’t think so. The reviewers didn’t know the difference between ignorance and apathy. They didn’t know and they didn’t care.

    So, Mr. President, I’m deeply sorry to inform you that your transformative energy-saving product development initiative has in some respects turned into a Federally run dice game. Good luck Mr. President, I hope that you win, and for your sake I hope that you demand that you win.

  • D. Dalponte

    I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There are no passenger railroads here period.? To go to Chicago or any other city in the U.S., one must fly and the chances of getting connections to your final destination is a gamble? The State of Wisconsin had passenger service by rail throughout the whole state-now there is freight trains and that’s it.There is a busline that takes 10 hours to Chicago. If there is a snowstorm in winter, which is common, bus service stops.Of course, passenger service for railroads are not needed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.Only in the Northeastern States? And California.

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