Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.
President Trump got elected in 2016 on a series of promises he made to the American People. One of his promises was to rebuild our country's infrastructure. I want to address this topic head on. Besides the border wall, repealing Obamacare, and reducing taxes, infrastructure is at the top of my list. There is no reason our country can't address all of these problems.
An Open Letter
June 30, 2017
Dear President Trump,
I am a retired citizen living in the suburb of NYC. I was a skeptic about your candidacy and in fact sat out this past election cycle. I have seen some good things coming from your administration in these first 200 days. If you want to win my vote in 2020, I implore you to tackle our infrastructure breakdowns. This problem was long time in the making. It has reached the breaking point. Anyone who drives or take the trains on a daily basis can experience this first hand. It will take some time to fix all the problems but that is why it is imperative that we start now. Many bridges and roads and rail systems are in continuous distress. The impact on our lives and the economy cannot be understated. The lost time, energy, and resources and the waste of our gasoline sitting in idle traffic is unacceptable. I have lived in the NY area most of my life. The situation has worsened in recent years. As I traveled around our country, I noticed similar problems in LA and Seattle, San Francisco and Boston... It is a national crisis.
Mr. President, you built your empire as a real estate businessman and an entertainer. I remember in the 1970s, you rebuild the Central Park skating rink in record time and under budget. The citizens of NYC reaped the benefit including me. I still remember the good times spent skating on Saturday mornings with my friends.
Your past experience demonstrated that you have a good understanding of how to build things. Big and complex structures requires planning and execution. It is past due to address some of our city's bridges, tunnels, roads and airports and rails.
I hear excuses after excuses about traffic jams. Yes, we do have too many cars and trucks on the road. However, that is not the problem. Our problem has been exasperated by endless road repairs and constant breakdowns.
The impetus for this letter was my recent experience driving a family member to the airport. It was during the middle of the day, off peak hours. A typical trip would be 1 hour each way from my house to JFK. Instead, it took over two hours to get there and they barely made it to the gate on-time. On the return trip, it took us 3 hours as we dealt with road repairs and closed lanes on bridges and roads. These same repairs have been going on for years. How can this be? Why is there no end? Am I the only person who notices this? It is just insanity on steroids.
Mr. President. I am sure this is not news to you. You live in the same environment that I described. You must be well aware of all the problems. You are in a position to do something about it. We can't just blame it on some unknown person or the MTA...It is the whole system that is broken and it needs to be overhauled from the ground up. There needs to be some accountability.
Thanks for your efforts to change Washington DC and the same needs to be done on the local level here in NY.
Here is one suggestion that may help.
How about creating a national registry with all the public works projects under way.
In each case, identify the scope of the project, the location, the manager's name in charge, his contact info, the estimated cost and the time to completion. Make this registry public domain so each citizen can track their progress. When a project is not completed on time or on budget, the supervisor in charge needs to explain himself to the public. He needs to be accountable to the people paying the bill.
This does not have to be a big expensive prospect. A simple website can be setup and each supervisor of these projects must create an account and post their own projects. Allow a reasonable period of time for this to be done. It does not have to have details. It could just contain links to the project at hand.
By having this self tracking system, the people will have transparency to these projects. There will not be unnamed faces behind these projects. It can serve both good and bad. Project managers may be commended for a job well done, on time and on budget. Conversely, if things don't go well, he must explain the delay or the cost overrun. There may be legitimate reasons but, we just don't know in today's environment. We are forced to suffer in silence.
One glaring example is this. On many occasions, I drive past a closed lane road "under construction" and witnessed no personnel present. It was just empty truck or machinery sitting idle. Why? Or some construction workers standing around doing nothing. It is frustrating to see construction related congestion when there is no construction going on. You would think they have a better system in place to stage these projects to cause the minimum inconvenience to the public.
A Side Benefit
President Trump, you pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. I agree it was a bad deal for us. However, we can still do the right thing to protect our environment and reduce our energy waste. This initiative to fix our infrastructure will go a long way to that goal. Think of all the savings in gasoline and diesel fuel and the exhaust fumes in those traffic jams caused by our failed infrastructure.
Going Green...in China
The New Tappan Zee Bridge about to Open...
Politics is a game. Each side try to gain advantage by attacking or obstructing their opponents. On this one issue, I am willing to bet, we all agree. We need to fix our infrastructure for all the people. President Obama tried 8 years ago and spent $1 trillion on shovel ready projects. He failed. Mr. Trump, it is your turn. Please don't fail us.
© 2017 Jack Lee
The Logician from then to now on on June 30, 2017:
Jack, how can you say "President Obama tried 8 years ago and spent $1 trillion on shovel ready projects." when virtually non of the stimulus money went into "shovel ready projects" which by the way didn't even exist?
Rush Limbaugh referred to the Obama stimulus bill as “nothing more than a money laundering slush fund.” And it’s a slush fund where a large “percentage [of the money] just goes right back to the Democrat party.”
80% of the funds that went to Wisconsin from President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package were dumped into the coffers of public unions. That means unions received $600 million of the $701 million in funding that was sent under the guise of saving that state from catastrophe. The problem is, the only thing it saved were the Democrat dominated unions. Moreover, those unions, with their pockets lined from Obama, used millions of those dollars to try to oust Gov. Scott Walker from office.
The list goes on and on how stimulus money was funneled into the hands of Democrats. You need to correct your hub page.
Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 30, 2017:
Tsad, I knew that. Obama himself joked about it. He said "they weren't as shovel ready as he thought..." Your point is well taken. The money was spent saving government jobs that would have been cut due to the recession. As it turned out, most jobs lost went to the private sector while government jobs and union jobs were saved and protected.
My point in this article is to ask Trump to focus on the infrastructure as he promised. It would be so popular among all people, republicans and democrats... if he did nothing else this four years, he would easily won reelection in 2020. Don't you agree? Fix the roads and bridges and airports and railways.
The Logician from then to now on on June 30, 2017:
"President Obama tried 8 years ago and spent $1 trillion on shovel ready projects." Really? Where did you get that idea or are you just naive?
Trump won't fail because he is not conniving enough to try what Obama did, which was to claim to spend tax payer monies on (non existent) shovel ready projects while his plan was a $780 billion a spending spree to increase the size of government. It wasn’t meant to put people to work and even the Associated Press agrees.
According to the AP, in this story, only 5% of all that money is going to those “shovel ready jobs.”
For all those who voted for Obama, he lied to you! He scammed you.
So instead of investing in roads, bridges, rail lines and so on that would actually benefit the economy of the United States, Obama was simply increasing the size of government.
His favorite selling point was the thousands of projects nationwide that he calls "shovel ready" — meaning planning is complete, approvals are secured and people could be put to work right away once funding is in place.
There is no formal definition for shovel ready. The Federal Highway Administration says it doesn't use the phrase. Its preferred term is "ready to go."
So again Obama lied, there isn;t even such a thing as a shovel ready project so where do you think that money, which was no where near a a trillion dollars btw, went?