Not working, drowning

Two inches of rain overnight caused the entire New York City subway system to flood and shut down this morning. Not Spielberg-style, with tunnels of water carting subway cars into the Hudson or East Rivers, but rather via an excess of water that the system’s existing network of pumps could not accommodate. As a result, millions of commuters were stuck mid-transit or caught unaware when they arrived for their early-morning commute. Fortunately I was not one of them. 

Infrastructure failure is sadly evident across the city and last week’s Minneapolis bridge collapse hints at a more widespread neglect. On NPR (National Public Radio, a poor imitation of my beloved and much-missed ABC) I heard one expert admit he suspects the lack of care about infrastructure relates to the “wild west mentality” which is alive and well in the US. He suggested that fixing and maintaining older equipment was simply not part of a culture that is constantly searching for the next new invention, object or territory. It’s a bit scary to ponder what else is about to fall down or break.

Here is an interesting interview with a transportation expert on the infrastructure problem here.

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  1. Oddly enough, an interview with Gore Vidal ran on Phillip Adams’ ABC-Radio National show tonight. It was a re-run (repeats have negative production costs) and it mentioned the (US) administration’s lack of interest in the basic infra-structure of the country; the Clintons were in the White House at the time. “Will it take a bridge collapse before anyone notices?” asked the old warrior. The original broadcast date was 1993. For all the man may be a cousin of the-next-Albert, he is nonetheless a seer. And the others? A bunch of idiots. Still, it sells newspapers. Sad.

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