Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/8/2007 (3417 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
No one needs to be lectured about the bridge tragedy in Minneapolis. It is a horrible, ugly event. And the only good thing that comes from horrible ugly events is a pledge to make sure it never happens again.In coverage of the bridge disaster, The National Post
included a story
that touched upon a recent study by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities which attempted to tally up the entire tab for infrastructure repairs and replacement needed in Canada right now. The total? A whopping $100 billion.And what kind of money is Ottawa putting on the table to deal with this so-called infrastructure deficit? According to the Post story, about $16 billion over five years.To be blunt, what happened in Minneapolis should be wake up call to governments in developed countries about the perils of putting off today what should have been done yesterday. Tax cutting programs have put more money in people's pockets, but at what cost? Everyone wants lower taxes, but there is a threshold beyond which government cannot pay for everything it needs to pay for. Like bridge repairs.Unfortunately, infrastructure is one of those government services we take for granted. As long as the bridge stands, we think it's okay. We ignore the effects of age, weather and heavy usage and put off maintenance and replacement programs in the name of keeping taxes down. Then the bridge fails and everyone asks 'what happened?'This is undoubtedly the story that will come out of Minneapolis. We know this because it is the story that came out of New Orleans, where we learned that pleas for upgrades to dikes went unheeded by federal and state officials. It's what happened in Montreal, when the city and province fell behind infrastructure replacement and repair programs and a bridge collapsed. It's what will happen in other communities if we continue the way we are continuing.When Prime Minister Stephen Harper
starts talking about removing another point from the GST, remember Minneapolis, New Orleans and Montreal. And remember that the next time a bridge collapses, you might be the one driving across it.-30-