Originally Posted by MJ1970
Let's be very careful here. Whether intentionally or not, there's a rhetorical trick hiding in there. I'm not saying at all that I disapprove of the concept of an interstate transport system like the interstate highway system. What I am specifically opposed to is the government funding, managing and building of it. It could have been done privately and it could now potentially be privatized.
There is no rhetorical trick whatsoever. And by definition it wouldn't be a "trick" if it wasn't intentional. For my part, I don't think the system would have ever been built without government funding.
I don't know what I think of privatization here. My inclination is that I don't like it. I think there are certain functions government should perform, and that branching out into other areas is what has caused governments to consider privatizing roads in the first place. In other words, it's not being done for reasons you and I might happen to agree with. It's being done because governments are involved in too many other things they have no business in, causing lack of resources for things they arguably should be involved with.
Originally Posted by john galt
That's going to happen whether we like it or not. Federal fuel tax revenue can no longer sustain the cost of maintaining the interstate highway system, and given high gas prices coupled with the atmosphere in D.C. there's no appetite for raising it. At a fixed 18.4¢ / gal, it was last raised in 1993 so it's lost 33% of its value since then, due to inflation (state taxes add a lot more to that (except in AK)).
There's plenty of money. That is not the problem.
It gets worse: only 60% goes to actual road and bridge construction, the rest gets "earmarked". Great system we got there.
THAT is the problem...or one of them.
The alternative will be privatization - "pay as you go" roads that extract money from you using a system of transponders like EZ-Pass. I surmise the creeps in Washington will mandate new cars contain electronics that will make it easy (if they haven't already).
Awesome, so a boatload of my taxes go away then, too? If we're going to pay as we go, then we better damn well pay as we go without paying taxes that go to roads.
Selling public roads to the highest bidder, who subsequently maintain them in accordance with Contract specifications by collecting whatever revenue they deem appropriate beats many other unpleasant alternatives. Probably the worst of them are these quasi-government agencies like the Port Authority of NY, so corrupt, inefficient, and unaccountable it makes the Mafia look like a sewing circle.
It's been done
- 15 roads in 10 different states are already privately owned and operated. The companies that operate them often aren't even American
You describe a serious problem with implementation here, problems. First, do we really want a bunch of privately owned companies owning our transportation system? Secondly, are we still going to have taxes that go to roads when they are privately owned? What about security concerns with non-domestic companies owning the roads (or hell...even domestic ones)?
In my own state (Commonwealth, technically) there has been talk about privatizing the PA Turnpike. I just don't like it. As I said, I think there are certain things government should be doing. Building and maintaining public infrastructure is one of them. When we can't do that anymore, it's a sign that government has gotten its tentacles into too many things, and is spending too much money on them. It's absurd to think that that CoPA can hand out cash assistance, but cannot fund and manage its roads. Of course, this might also be an argument that government can pretty much SUCK at doing anything...
I don't like it but when there's no money, there's no money. It's just another ripple in the cesspool of economic collapse our government has orchestrated.
There's no reason you can't privatize space exploration and research either. Most satellites are already privately built, owned and operated, why must they rely upon a government agency to place them into orbit?
I'm not arguing against private space travel and exploration. I just think it should be a national priority as well.
That would be the Department of Peace
Originally Posted by tonton
My god... deteriorating roads and rising fuel costs... might actually encourage people to reside reasonably near their place of employment, take public transportation, and car pool. How terrible!!!!
This statement really betrays a lot of your true thinking about not just transport, but politics, freedom and liberty as well. First, the implication is that it's inherently more moral
to utilize public transport and live near one's place of employment. After all, it helps with the specter of global warming, suburban sprawl, etc--at least in your mind. From there, your affinity for central planning comes into play. This means that you applaud policies that encourage
deteriorating roads and rising fuel costs to that people will be forced into the lifestyle of the planners' choosing. You want high fuel costs because it will force people to live near work and take public transit, not to mention alter their lifestyles. Our President obviously shares these goals to an extent.
As for NASA, I'm with Obama and Frank777 here, and to a certain extent, MJ. We can invest more in space travel when we can afford it, and going to Mars and the Moon is definitely not affordable at this point in our history.
That's a decent argument on its own. My question is what is preventing us from affording it (U.S. in particular)?