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The Egregious Lie Americans Tell Themselves

Posted on 2018.11.17 at 16:12
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The Egregious Lie Americans Tell Themselves

In September 2016, the Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh caught on fire. Originally built in 1928 and last renovated in 1982, the bridge carries more than 50,000 vehicles a day and serves as a main commuter link between the city’s central business district and its populous southern suburbs. Long in a state of questionable repair, it had been an object of particular concern after the spectacular and deadly collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis in 2007. Pennsylvania had—and still has—one of the highest percentages of “structurally deficient” bridges in the nation, and the prospect of a failure of the Liberty Bridge, whose main span is nearly 45 feet above the Monongahela River, was terrifying to contemplate.

Nevertheless, it took six years after the I-35W disaster for Pennsylvania’s perennially Republican state legislature to pass a transportation spending bill to free up repair funds. In the interim, increasingly drastic weight restrictions had been imposed in order to prevent, or at least mitigate against, a Liberty Bridge failure or collapse.

Even after legislative approval, funding delays pushed the start of the project to 2015, and it was expected to last 30 months. The blaze that engulfed the bridge burned so hot it buckled one of the main support beams, and an investigation determined that the contractor had failed to follow proper fire safety protocols. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined it several thousand dollars. It faced a more substantial penalty of $3 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, but then the PennDOT decided to simply waive the fine.

There’s a verbal tic particular to a certain kind of response to a certain kind of story about the thinness and desperation of American society; about the person who died of preventable illness or the Kickstarter campaign to help another who can’t afford their cancer treatment even with “good” insurance; about the plight of the homeless or the lack of resources for the rural poor; about underpaid teachers spending thousands of dollars of their own money for the most basic classroom supplies; about train derailments, the ruination of the New York subway system and the decrepit states of our airports and ports of entry.

“I can’t believe in the richest country in the world …”

See imortant article at THINK PROGRESS

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