Wednesday, March 26, 2014

That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Taxes. Am I right? Those things are the worst. The dern gubbmint reaches into your pay check every damn week (or bi-weekly I don't know how or if you get paid) and removes a percentage of your income. And for what? FEMA camps? Actually yes because after a major tornado or hurricane people need temporary shelter. But that's a bad example. What about the Military? Another yes. And a BIG one too! The US spent $718 billion on defense and international security assistance in 2011, which is more than it spent on Medicare.

Taxes are also spent on roads, bridges, schools, police, gas lines. Oh, wait, apparently taxes don't pay for that last one because according to the FDNY and forensic inspectors, the Harlem building collapse was the fault of a "127-year-old, cast-iron gas line."

It seems that NYC is falling apart at the seams and I don't just mean the gentleman's trousers next to you on the subway. According to Time, the average age of the 6,300-plus miles of gas mains in NYC is 56 years old. In human years that's the new 30 but in gas main years that's KABLOOIE. And the gas lines aren't the only problem. From TIME:
Throughout the city, 1,000 miles of water mains, 170 school buildings and 165 bridges were constructed over a century ago. The city’s public hospital buildings are 57 years old, on average, and 531 public housing towers were built prior to 1950.
Obviously, the type of tragedy seen in Harlem is thankfully rare but to have them happen is inexcusable. Especially when we all know how cool and special and economically important NYC is. Take that, Boise.

But the next bit made me happy to be someone who uses mass transit regularly:
47 of [the 167 bridges across the city] were deemed “fracture critical,” an engineering term for bridges that have little structural redundancy, making them prone to failure and collapse.
That's not just an engineering term. That's a crap your pants on the GW term.

But it isn't all fun in the subway either. Nearly 40 percent of the signals are past their 50-year useful life which slow trains and commuters, and shortens everyone's patience, which like budget for restoring this place, is in short supply or nonexistent.

I initially heard about the explosion from my father, a retired NYC firefighter with 30 years on the job. Just as the news broke he sent me a text message that said: "Explosion in Harlem. 100 bucks it's a gas main." He knew immediately because the majority of the lines were old before he retired 10 years ago.

And that's the problem. Everyone knows things need fixin' -- roads, bridges, gas lines, subways systems -- but no one wants to pay up. But why worry? After they herd us into FEMA camps to cultivate sweet, legal marijuana for Uncle Sam to tax and line his pockets with we'll be living on easy street.