Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PA Roads and Transit on Verge of Collapse. Harrisburg and DC Spurn the DN


Monday, 9 AM, North Negley Avenue in 'Sliberty. The 71A Negley lurched to my stop with a groan and a belch of black soot. Lacking an alternative or a premonition of what awaited me, I stuffed myself in with the suits and students in the aisle of the bus.

PAT's most trafficked route doesn't meet any ride-gold standard. Its hot, shitty, uncomfortable and unreliable. Like a life-raft, or a passenger plane spiraling towards the earth, the 71A is a true exercise in democracy. Everyone, rich or poor, is subject to an equal fate; for the 71A, that is the intolerable misery of proximity. By the time the 71A reached South Negley at Center Ave, it was turning down people waiting for the bus. Judging by how pissed off the abandoned looked, I assume they really didn't realize that being late for work/school might be a fair trade off. Had it not been for the impenetrable barrier of cramped sweating flesh between me and the door, I would have gladly fled the 71A Purgatory and walked.

Over-funded bloated luxury liner service my ass.

Like the 71A, a collapsing bridge is an exercise in democratic equality. Failing infrastructure is an equal opportunity killer. The Post Gazette reports that 12% of PA's bridges, including 18% of Allegheny County's bridges, need replaced. On PennDOT's short list for replacement, the sub-bridge of steel netting that prevents falling hunks of the Greefield Bridge from crushing unsuspecting drivers on the Parkway East. Apparently it's overburdened.

On Sunday, Jon Delano chatted with John Peterson (R-Bumpkin PA) and Mike Doyle (D-Crony PA) about the transit problem. Peterson repeated the mantra of the spineless politician... we shouldn't have to pay for anything. Doyle showed an amazing capacity for thought, asking John for an alternative plan. None exists.

Check out the video, hop on the bus, and hang yourself from a bridge.

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