Home Open Account Help 195 users online

Passenger Trains > Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?


Current Page:1 of 3


Date: 05/27/20 13:41
Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: Lackawanna484

Bloomberg Opinion  looks at the problems with building stuff, any stuff, in the US. Roads, railroads, dams, all of these take much longer and cost much more than in other places.  The right wing likes to blame labor unions and Davis-Bacon, but French unions make US unions look like wusses. And they build things faster. Japan has much more complex geography and terrain, and weaker eminent domain laws, but they get stuff done. Faster and better.

The writer argues that the US puts up with monumental levels of inefficiency. In schools, where more and more money gets less and less results. In government, where inaction and confusion is par for the course.  The feds recently shut down a project looking into why high speed rail takes so long costs so much,  and never seems to get done.  Maybe the study was actually getting somewhere?


https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-u-s-has-forgotten-how-to-do-infrastructure?utm_source=pocket-newtab



Date: 05/27/20 13:52
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: jgilmore

Good question. Maybe it's because we're all a bunch of greedy, lazy slobs who don't want to or care anymore about getting things done? Besides, since everyone else seems to be much better and cheaper about doing these things, maybe we should just hire them to come over here and build stuff for us?? We can keep ourselves on the couch and stuff our faces with cheeseburgers and pizza while streaming mindless crap from the 'net...

JG



Date: 05/27/20 14:10
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: dan

Over here machines have to have a safety stop,.



Date: 05/27/20 14:13
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: ts1457

Before you even break ground, you have a lot of environmental requirements to meet.



Date: 05/27/20 14:24
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: RRBMail

jgilmore Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Good question. Maybe it's because we're all a
> bunch of greedy, lazy slobs who don't want to or
> care anymore about getting things done? 
Add poorly educated and functionally illiterate to that list of Amerikan traits please. 



Date: 05/27/20 14:27
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: Streamliner

It took only 14 months to build the Empire State Building.  Today, I don't think you could get the project through plan check in 14 months.  This country needs a master builder like Robert Moses, who transformed Manhattan, building highways, bridges & much need infrastructure.  He wasn't the nicest guy, very pushy & tough, but he got things done.  



Date: 05/27/20 14:32
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: BRAtkinson

I have strong doubts that the author of the article has EVER dealt with getting a government contract.  I bid unsuccessfully on 2 of them 35 years ago and can tell you there was 50-70 pages of 'red tape', aka, 'boiler plate', (same stuff in every contract) to only 5 pages of 'technical requirements' for the requested software.  It wasn't much different than the contract I had to deal with when I sold a product to IBM.  And in my situation, it was only for some new computer software to be written.  I'd speculate that the boiler plate 'requirements' for a physical infrastructure building far exceeds 200 pages of standard requirements to be met such as environmental reviews for each proposed solution or routing, local government building codes being met, and on and on.  

Put simply, the amount of red tape that must be accomplished is incredible.  Site reviews, land reviews, ecology reviews, plumbing and electrical reviews (water runoff and lighting), habitat impacts on wildlife, you name it.  I would expect just all those pre-digging reviews and studies would cost 20-30 MILLION PER MILE!  Consider the well documented delays and costs the railroads have encountered just to implement PTC.  Just getting radio frequencies took YEARS and cost 10s of millions.  Getting permission to build towers on sacred land, or remediation for towers near residences or potential interference with nearby active frequencies in the vicinity must all be addressed. 

Consider something as 'simple' as widening a freeway.  First of all, a 'rough plan' must be designed explaining where each new lane will be placed.  Will they be in the center or on each edge?  Discussions of underground infrastructure such as sewers and buried cables must be in there too.  A couple years ago, I saw a reasonable representation of all the underground infrastructure in New York City when planning the new East Side Connection to Grand Central Terminal.  Between 2 or 3 subway routes on multiple levels, water mains, sewers, electrical conduits, and even buried fiber optics has to be fully known YEARS before the first shovelful of dirt is moved.  Remember that some of that 'documentation' in New York City and other metro areas can be over 100 years old! 

Look at how long it took to plan the 'Big Dig' in Boston before they did anything!  They had to analyze the composition of the soil (mostly land fill in downtown Boston) and the impact of removing a lot of soil on buildings above and nearby.  They had to come up with a plan to not only shore up any buildings, but had to literally keep the soil frozen solid while they dug and built slurry walls and who knows what.

Then throw in the cost of liability insurance at all levels.  For a simple 'errors and omissions' policy I had while writing software for a Fortune 500 company ran me over $1000 per year.  Another policy to 'guaranty completion' was another $1500/year.  How much would a 100 year policy cost to ensure/guarantee/repair damage for a 50 story building adjacent to the Big Dig?  And the one next to that?  And the one across the street?  

Then we get down to building permits, rebuilding lost nature habitats, and so on.  About 2 miles from my house in suburban Springfield MA, they are just finishing a small complex of doctors offices in two, two-story buildings that could house perhaps 40-50 dentists' offices each (based on the size of my independent dentists' office).  Not only did they have to pay to have new power lines put into place, but they had to pay for additional water main capacity as well as city sewer capacity about 1/3 mile each (rip up a main thorofare).  As the new complex is on a estimated 30 acre lot that was previously wild growth at the major commuter-heavy intersection, they had to pick up the cost of not only adding separate right and left turn lanes, but completely removing the streets, regrading, etc, AND putting in new stoplights too!

Simply put, the cost of labor is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to costs.  But, as I learned while writing a system for pricing health care policies for an insurance company, an appendectomy in Des Moines IA is about 30% the price of one in New York City.  Everything is more expensive in NYC.

Factor in, too, that getting ANY project 'off the ground' at a large company requires DOZENS of approvals from managers at all levels, many of whom have no part of the project!  Any 'nay' votes would kill the project.  Been there, seen it happen multiple times!
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/20 14:33 by BRAtkinson.



Date: 05/27/20 14:33
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: MojaveBill

I live in a house here in Mojave that was built in the early 1950s.
It sits one foot above the ground which was the law then.
On Sept. 3, 1997, we had a flood that came within an inch of coming into my house and flooded my garage, patio, etc.
I pay flood insurance every year because the house should be two feet above the ground as all new construction in the flood zone is required
to be now.
If that rule had been in place when I bought it in the early 1950s I would not have had all that damage nor be required to pay flood insurance.
The reason for all these rules is to avoid stuff like this happening.
By the way, when I visited an old friend from Mojave who was living in Germany in 1987 his bathroom, by law, had no electrical outlets.
Which meant they had to run an extension cord, which is very dangerous on several counts, into the bathroom to shave, use a hairdryer, etc.
The rest of the story, as Paul Harvey once reminded us...
 

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 05/27/20 14:48
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: Lackawanna484

about 25% of high school students fail to finish high school in four years. but they still cost taxpayers a lot of money while they're occupying a seat.  maybe finding a way to get them skilled for some useful service would produce a gain for them and for society...

But nobody cares...



Date: 05/27/20 15:08
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: dcfbalcoS1

           And don't forget the under the table payoffs to polititions in all those places so they will only slow your project by 24 months instead of 60 months. 



Date: 05/27/20 18:25
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: MEKoch

Almost anything is difficult to build:  churches.  In a D.C. suburban county the hostility we encountered for a small church addition was sad.  We were adding an educational wing to our church (classrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.)  Less than $1M we hoped.  Here came the inspectors, the engineers, the soil examiners, the plumbing consultants, etc.  It was wild.  We usually had 200 people in worship on a Sunday.  But the sewer district said we needed to build an eight foot high sewer line from our property to the road.  Yes, an eight foot sewer line for perhaps 100 toilet flushes per week from this new addition.  Neighbors said our traffic at the church would triple or quadruple.  

Finally we used well-connected people to almost literally beat up the county government bureaucracy.  It was downright staggering to deal with incredibly arrogant people.  Yes, the sewer was built, but now only 12".   In that county large gifts of cash were the customary way to open doors.  You bought ten tickets to the annual barbecue of the county executive at $500 per person.  Similar public "events" and private favors were the juice that made things happen for you.  



Date: 05/27/20 19:08
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: RuleG

Streamliner Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It took only 14 months to build the Empire State
> Building.  Today, I don't think you could get the
> project through plan check in 14 months.  This
> country needs a master builder like Robert Moses,
> who transformed Manhattan, building highways,
> bridges & much need infrastructure.  He wasn't
> the nicest guy, very pushy & tough, but he got
> things done.  

No we do not need anyone like Robert Moses.  An estimated 250,000 people were displaced to make room for Robert Moses' highways in New York.  Robert Caro's biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker, was written as a criticism, not an instruction manual.



Date: 05/27/20 19:37
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: Streamliner

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Streamliner Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > It took only 14 months to build the Empire
> State
> > Building.  Today, I don't think you could get
> the
> > project through plan check in 14 months.  This
> > country needs a master builder like Robert
> Moses,
> > who transformed Manhattan, building highways,
> > bridges & much need infrastructure.  He wasn't
> > the nicest guy, very pushy & tough, but he got
> > things done.  
>
> No we do not need anyone like Robert Moses.  An
> estimated 250,000 people were displaced to make
> room for Robert Moses' highways in New York. 
> Robert Caro's biography of Robert Moses, The Power
> Broker, was written as a criticism, not an
>
The highway and bridge construction projects run by Robert Moses, that caused hundreds of thousands to be displaced back then, have been used and enjoyed by tens, if not hundreds of millions since.  Progress--especially in urban areas--sometimes displaces people.  



Date: 05/27/20 20:02
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: FloridaTrainGuy

Crippling regulations, environmental roadblocks and NIMBY opposition to everything.



Date: 05/27/20 20:20
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: RuleG

Streamliner Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> The highway and bridge construction projects run
> by Robert Moses, that caused hundreds of thousands
> to be displaced back then, have been used and
> enjoyed by tens, if not hundreds of millions
> since.  

Enjoyed?  That's debatable.  There are also huge negative on-going consequences like deaths and injuries due to automobile accidents, air pollution and deterioration of the neighborhoods adjacent to the highways.

Keep in mind too that Robert Moses had overpasses spanning the parkway to Long Island beaches purposely built low so that buses could not use the parkway, thus preventing African Americans from getting to the beaches.

Public transit, especially subways, moves many more people in a given spaces than automobiles on highways.  If the money spent on highways was instead invested public transportation, the New Yorkers' mobility choices would have been improved without displacing so many people (and businesses).

By the way all, those people  were living in residences which would have generated taxes to the City of New York.  Removal of those residences and businesses would have had huge fiscal consequences for New York.

Progress--especially in urban
> areas--sometimes displaces people.

Many New Yorkers then and now do not feel Robert Moses' highways represented "progress."

See this:

http://fordhampoliticalreview.org/the-legacy-of-robert-moses/



Date: 05/27/20 20:52
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: goneon66

this country could NOT have handled the growth and economic boom it has enjoyed in the last 60 yrs WITHOUT our increased highway and bridge construction. 

emergency services also benefited from quicker response alternatives from these highways and bridges.  ask any nypd or fdny member IF less highways and bridges would benefit public safety in the new york area.

the positive benefits far outweigh the negatives.  

just take away these highways and bridges you so resent and see what a bummer our society would be today.....

66



Date: 05/27/20 21:10
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: Streamliner

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Streamliner Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > The highway and bridge construction projects
> run
> > by Robert Moses, that caused hundreds of
> thousands
> > to be displaced back then, have been used and
> > enjoyed by tens, if not hundreds of millions
> > since.  
>
> Enjoyed?  That's debatable.  There are also huge
> negative on-going consequences like deaths and
> injuries due to automobile accidents, air
> pollution and deterioration of the neighborhoods
> adjacent to the highways.
>
> Keep in mind too that Robert Moses had overpasses
> spanning the parkway to Long Island beaches
> purposely built low so that buses could not use
> the parkway, thus preventing African Americans
> from getting to the beaches.
>
> Public transit, especially subways, moves many
> more people in a given spaces than automobiles on
> highways.  If the money spent on highways was
> instead invested public transportation, the New
> Yorkers' mobility choices would have been improved
> without displacing so many people (and
> businesses).
>
> By the way all, those people  were living in
> residences which would have generated taxes to the
> City of New York.  Removal of those residences
> and businesses would have had huge fiscal
> consequences for New York.
>
> Progress--especially in urban
> > areas--sometimes displaces people.
>
> Many New Yorkers then and now do not feel Robert
> Moses' highways represented "progress."
>
> See this:
>
> http://fordhampoliticalreview.org/the-legacy-of-ro
> bert-moses/

Well, I guess you would have preferred that the Dutch never settled Manhattan and that it were still in the hands of the Native Americans.  Come to think of it, when I think of NYC today, I pretty much feel the same way.:)



Date: 05/27/20 21:12
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: Streamliner

goneon66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...........
> emergency services also benefited from quicker
> response alternatives from these highways and
> bridges.  ask any nypd or fdny member IF less
> highways and bridges would benefit public safety
> in the new york area............
> 66

Nah, the police & fire fighters could ride the subways to emergency calls.



Date: 05/27/20 22:23
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: jgilmore

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Keep in mind too that Robert Moses had overpasses
> spanning the parkway to Long Island beaches
> purposely built low so that buses could not use
> the parkway, thus preventing African Americans
> from getting to the beaches.......

> Many New Yorkers then and now do not feel Robert
> Moses' highways represented "progress."

Exactly and exactly. Well known in NYC. A dispicable man doing dispicable things. Had nothing to do with "progress." Count me, married to a black person, as one of the many who can't stand the name Robert Moses...

JG



Date: 05/28/20 06:19
Re: Why is it so d@#$ difficult to build anything in the US ?
Author: choodude

goneon66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> this country could NOT have handled the
> growth and economic boom it has enjoyed
> in the last 60 yrs WITHOUT our increased
> highway and bridge construction. 

We would not have wasted so much resources building and operating inefficient transportation infrastructure. Not to mention far fewer Americans would have died in traffic accidents and oil wars. Then again folks thought the Pyramids in Egypt were economic growth engines as well.

> emergency services also benefited from quicker
> response alternatives from these highways and
> bridges.  ask any nypd or fdny member IF less
> highways and bridges would benefit public safety
> in the new york area.

With more folks using better mass transit and fewer automobiles in the way your argument does not hold water.  Not to mention cities are usually smart enough to distribute emergency service infrastructure throughout the area that will need the service.

> the positive benefits far outweigh the
> negatives.  

Especially if you are a dead dinosaur fuel extractor and a military hardware manufacturer.

> just take away these highways and bridges you
> resent and see what a bummer our society would be
> today.....
>
> 66

I totally disagree.  America could have chosen to go down a different path and we would have been far more successful if we had not chosen a one size fits all approach to transportation.

I can't help but think you only see the result of over three quarters of a century of neglect and outright hostility towards non highway infrastructure and assume that is the only way things could have developed.

Brain



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/20 07:34 by choodude.



Current Page:1 of 3


[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1156 seconds