Across the Tracks


While some think our government has gone overboard on building roads, anger is building in the US as infrastructure, including roads, is crumbling and there’s no money to do anything about it.

A report from a transportation think-tank says in New York, 82% of major roads in the city are in poor condition, and 35% of bridges are structurally deficient.

The story is repeated everywhere. In Indiana, for example 4,111 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Pennsylvania has 1300 structurally deficient bridges. An engineer who parked under one main bridge recently looked up and discovered it had a major crack that could have led to a major collapse.

Every state reports not enough funds. Pennsylvania is $4.7 billion a year short of what it needs to keep highways, bridges and transit in good repair.

Politicians are refusing to increase petrol taxes or car rego fees.

From an op-ed in today’s New York Times, entitled “America Goes Dark”:

“..a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel.”

Other interesting reading today:

Speed up buses and trains: A mobility expert at the University of South Florida, has applied a time-is-money test to travel by transit, arguing that slow overall speeds of buses and trains rob U.S. riders of $44 billion a year. That’s more than two-thirds the annual time cost of road congestion for many millions more drivers nationwide. Read

Use PT & Save: A report says Americans living in 20 of the nations largest cities could save an average of $12,600 a year if they ditched the car, and just rode public transportation. Read

Historic Railway Bulldozed: Germans are upset by a hotly disputed plan to completely rebuild Stuttgart’s main station at the staggering cost of $12.6 billion. The hugely ambitious scheme involves bulldozing most of an early 20th century railway terminal acclaimed as a monument to early Modernism.

Rugby fan trains work: Dunedin rugby fans loved the idea of going by train to a match in Invercargill - all 300 seats snapped up in 24 hours More



  1. Scott says:

    Im quite glad we tax our petrol sales in NZ.

  2. Carl says:

    that trip on the train from otago to invercargill would have been awesome.. anyone do it?

  3. karl says:

    The Stuttgart train station doesn’t really demolish most of the old station at all. The main building is retained, only some wings are going.

    Mind you, if Aucklanders want to see a real CBD tunnel scheme, this is where to look at - most of those 12 billion are for undergrounding an existing terminus as a new through station and digging lots of tunnels. Hopefully, ours will not be so controversial in WHAT to do (we have enough controversy about how to fund it).


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