Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Under Rounds, Daugaard South Dakota infrastructure, Missouri River bridges crumbling

Senator Tike Mike Rounds [TEA Party-SD] wants to end federal oversight of industry. As South Dakota's governor Rounds let the state's infrastructure go completely to Hell.

Producers operating heavy equipment, much of it unlicensed or exempt, contribute disproportionately to the degradation of public roadways and bridges; yet, most farmers seem to believe they already pay their fair share through property taxes and other means.

The bridge over the Missouri River between Fort Pierre and her neighbor, the putrid cesspool to the east, won't be replaced until at least 2025: how many more times do you want to go over it for free?
South Dakota Department of Transportation Area Engineer Dean VanDeWiele says the DOT got reports yesterday that a section of highway south of the bridge in Fort Pierre had broken up and crews isolated the area from traffic to begin work on the spot. VanDeWiele says sometimes when roads heat quickly; the surface can heave or break-up. He says the DOT will watch the location-as the Fourth of July will bring extensive traffic in Fort Pierre-and crews will make repairs of any potholes or ruts that occur. [Dakota Radio Group]
South Dakota's current governor says he's a conservative; yet, he has begged for billions from the Obama administration.
The federal government could easily have provided aid to the states to help them spend — in fact, the stimulus bill included such aid, which was one main reason public investment briefly increased. But once the G.O.P. took control of the House, any chance of more money for infrastructure vanished. Once in a while Republicans would talk about wanting to spend more, but they blocked every Obama administration initiative. This hostility began as an attack on social programs, especially those that aid the poor, but over time it has broadened into opposition to any kind of spending, no matter how necessary and no matter what the state of the economy. [Paul Krugman, New York Times]
If John Thune and James Inhofe want it: be very afraid.
You do not have to be a U.S. senator to know that our roads, bridges and even dams are falling apart from a lack of maintenance. It may interest you to know that foreign aid has gone up every year since the financial crisis and that foreign aid is exempt from sequester. The operating budgets for the State Department and its foreign aid arm, the U.S. Agency for International Development, are also exempt from sequester. Therefore, we have had plenty of money to fix and build infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not for our homeland. Now that plunging oil prices have lowered the price of gasoline and given the working people of the U.S. a real tax cut, Sen. Corker, a Republican, wants to raise the federal gas tax. Of course, the gas tax is a regressive tax and, as such, it would be more acceptable to a Republican. The Corker has been hanging around hoping that the Republican Party that has seen him on CNBC will wake up to his brilliance and will draft him as their presidential candidate. [Matt Horween]
Self-reliance or moral hazard?

Just when you thought it was safe to live in or even visit South Dakota.
A report released this week by the TRIP group (pdf) a private non profit organization shows that Iowa has the third worst bridges in the country with 22 percent structurally deficient. South Dakota was the fourth worst with 21 percent and Nebraska was the sixth worst at 18 percent. Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek says that’s a disturbing report for farmers trying to get their goods to market. Steenhoek says with dwindling dollars at both the federal and state levels it’s important to figure out what causes these problems and strategically address the proper fixes. He says a recent pilot project his group did found they were able to get more valuable information on bridge problems by doing load testing rather than visual analysis. [WNAX]
Clay County Commissioners hope to pass a wheel tax to pay for infrastructure improvements long-neglected by the state's Republican administrations.

The state's governor has turned to the Small Business Administration after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied another in a barrage of disaster declaration requests from the red moocher state.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard denies human influence on climate disruptions.

After a stint as Region VIII Administrator, Matt Varilek has been named Chief Operating Officer at SBA.

A trustworthy or scrupulous At-large US Representative would set partisan politics aside and call out South Dakota's governor for putting the lives of the state's residents at risk.

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