Friday, February 7, 2014

Can I (rebuild) the Brooklyn Bridge For You?


Reading your insightful post about the dark side of infrastructure projects, I was immediately reminded of David McCullough's classical account of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. I imagine that you, lover of history that you are, have already ready the book, and I know you've walked across the bridge more than once. Reading this  riveting story of America's 1st great infrastructure project, one notes immediately how little has changed. Intense skepticism abounded. The usual NIMBY politics provided vociferous opposition . Graft and corruption were rampant. Payoffs, and later on, prosecutions, came in equal measure. Workers were exposed to the most appalling hazards (this is the event that led to our modern understanding of decompression sickness, or the "bends " as it popularly known). Careers were made, lives were ruined. The economy of New York and the possibilities for the nation were transformed. Today the bridge endures, solidly as ever, as a symbol of the kind of private public partnership that's made America, well, America.

Do you have any reason to believe that anything like it is ever going to be built again?

Meanwhile, I'm locked in mortal combat with potholes by the yard as I drive into the decrepit, impoverished city that contains the hospital where I work


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