Infrastructure in America is Impossible

March/20/2018 8:22AM
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Eisenhower built most of the interstate system during his time in office. The Empire State Building took one year and 45 days.  The Trump Tower in Chicago, 3 years.

Every state project in Illinois must be prevailing wages. Regardless of the contractor.  If non-union, the contractor must pay the union wages for any project. Here’s my experience from a prior blog entry.

This  is from a June, 2013 blog titled “you want to buy a bridge?”


Another bridge tumbled down in Washington State. When a semi-trailer hit a main stanchion. Woe is us. Liberals want billions in new tax dollars to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Good idea or bad idea?

Don’t you wonder where the $44 billion in gas tax dollars received by the Feds every year earmarked for infrastructure is going? Does it go to the same place our social security money went? Or, the lottery money earmarked for education went? Does it just go to add government employees who are paid more than employees in the private sector with better benefits. Employees who have disdain for those of us who pay those bloated salaries. Like Ruta.

Ruta is an employee in my local building department. I went to see Ruta this week. I am replacing two seven- foot garage doors with one 18 foot door. I could have just hired someone to do the work and not bothered to tell Ruta. But, being an upright citizen, I hired an architect to draw up plans and stamp said plans and I took said plans to Ruta.

After waiting 5 minutes while Ruta chatted with another employee about personal business, she sauntered to the counter. I said I was there to apply for a building permit. I handed her the two sets of plans stamped permit plans. She looked at me and said, “you need two copies of your plot plan, sorry.”  She handed back my permit plans.  My response, “you have two sets on file, I was in here two weeks ago to get a permit for a fence replacement”. She gave me a disgusted look. Goal number one for a public employee, make the taxpayer go away. She dug around in a file and found the plot plan then went to the copier and made two copies and handed me a data sheet for the permit.

I filled it out and handed it back. She said, “who is the general contractor.” I advised as my architect said to do, “I am.” Her response, “you can’t be, you must have a licensed contractor, licensed in the city and bonded. ” My response, “my architect, Mr. so and so(he does 50% of his work in the city and has been doing it for 30 years) and he says I can be the general on a small project like this”.  Her response, ” I don’t care what Mr. So and So says, I’m telling you we require you to hire a licensed contractor for this work to issue a permit.” I calmly asked Ruta to make a notation on the application that  Mr. So and So said I can be the licensed contractor for the record. I then asked her to let me initial the notation. Her last comment, “we are running two weeks behind so don’t expect to hear from us for at least two weeks.” My thoughts on that were, if you didn’t give everyone who came in here a ration of crap and try to find ways not to issue permits, you might be current.

The architect called the head of the building department and he agreed that I could be the general on my own job. Ruta had to call me and advise me that the permit had been issued, please come in and pick it up.

That’s what you get to replace a garage door. What do you think you get to fix a bridge?

There is a section of Highways 80-94 in Indiana between the Illinois line and the Michigan line that has been under construction for 4 years. Politicians don’t care about taxpayers who have to travel this section daily or weekly. Politicians can’t get projects done on a timely basis because they don’t care. Ruta’s work everywhere and they run the show. Infrastructure workers are union and have union rules and union protection.

Environmentalists file lawsuits on every infrastructure project.

Even, Obama, the community organizer, finally said, “there are no shovel ready projects in this country”.

It doesn’t matter how many budget dollars Trump gets approved for restoring the infrastructure in this country, Ruta and all her Ruta’s across the country, the inept politicians who will decide where and how to spend the money, the union contractors and their snail pace workers will stop progress.

The interstate system was built at a cost of $129 billion for 46,876 miles and most of the credit goes to Eisenhower. It was built in good speed by veterans who knew how to work and appreciated the jobs. There wasn’t page after page of regulations and permits required for each mile by every township and city. It wasn’t built by union workers with union work rules. There were no environmental lawsuits.  Contractors were on bonus/penalty contracts and wanted the bonuses.

We have created this mess we have today and Trump knows some of it since he’s had to deal with it with his projects. But, sadly, he can’t fix it and it simply isn’t going to happen. The bureaucracy will eat the good intentions and we don’t have the willing workers we had in the 50’s to do this labor. Ruta wins again.

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