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Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    While Texas has grown greatly and become prosperous by providing low taxes and low regulations attracting businesses and people from other states it should now be abundantly clear that the TX infrastructure is horribly lagging. This isn't just a problem from this past week but as Harvey showed natural disasters are greatly exacerbated by both the aging infrastructure and lack of new infrastructure to deal with these crisis.

    Many of us remember previous cold snaps including where we had burst pipes. All of us remember flood events. Those of us who remember cold snaps back in the 80's and Tropical Storm Allison remember those were bad but the since then Texas has more than doubled it's population and the area of urbanization has vastly increased. The infrastructure of the power grid and flood control couldn't keep up well with those disasters and the failures now are magnified.

    If Texas wants to continue to maintain longterm economic development that has to go with infrastructure development. While companies like low taxes they also like reliable power supplies and also knowing that their facilities won't be flooded. The costs in repair, replacement and increased insurance from the inability of Texas to protect against these could eventually make the cost of doing Texas prohibitive even with low taxes.

    It's well past time for the state to invest heavily in improving it's infrastructure.

    Also while Texas is the example right now most of America isn't much different regarding aging and poor infrastructure.
     
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  2. Phillyrocket

    Phillyrocket Member

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    It’s a national priority that kills two birds with one stone. You create a massive amount of jobs while improving everyone’s quality of life. We need a massive ongoing WPA that is paid for by increased corporate taxes and those making over $400k.

    Trickle down has been tried repeatedly. Let’s try trickle up. If you rebuild the blue collar middle class that lost jobs through automation and outsourcing to China and India will more money in their pockets lead to more demand and corporate revenue?

    That’s what I would like to see.
     
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  3. MexAmercnMoose

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    ain't gonna happen, engineer here, been waiting for one for about a decade
     
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  4. MexAmercnMoose

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  5. ApolloRLB

    ApolloRLB Member

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    Also most infrastructure jobs can’t be offshored. Even if you’re able to prefabricate some items you still have to transport and install on location.
     
  6. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    We don't need any northerners forcing big government regulation on us here in Texas.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous

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    We had lots of infrastructure weeks during Trump admin. Move on dude it's good now.
     
  8. dmoneybangbang

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    The last major federal infrastructure boom was from the dude that said "...the government is the problem".

    Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I think the Texas catastrophe plus Covid related economic malaise will cause a major infrastructure bill to pass.
     
    #8 dmoneybangbang, Feb 20, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
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  9. dmoneybangbang

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  10. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member
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    With federal matching funds at stake, how bout we put a pin on it until Texas comes clean and squash that little "secession" thing where some fine folks were prodding other states to join?

    The same bowel movement that filed lawsuits to scotus where they wanted to invalidate election results of other states.

    Fat chance... Big Government Beast Don't Tell Me What To Do.... Just Give Me Muh Money!!
     
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  11. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    As someone living outside of the state I'm seeing a lot of mocking of Texas regard 'Secession' talk and lack of sympathy. I try to remind people that the vast vast majority of Texans have no interest in Secession and such thing will never happen because Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and El Paso would never go along with the state leaving the union.

    Many of the failures of Texas are self-inflicted but that doesn't mean that Texas still isn't a valuable part of this country. It's also within Texas' own power to start changing things. Texas isn't a poor state. It has the tax base and resources to build better infrastructure. Besides that building and engineering codes can be updated so that there is much more resilience in new developments.
     
  12. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    There's obviously not much that can be done at this point as the damage has been done but this disaster should lead to major change.

    Unfortunately given that we haven't seen major changes regarding development patterns, flood infrastructure and housing codes following Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey I'm pessimistic. If serious changes aren't made though we could have this exact same situation again just like we see Houston flood nearly every year now.
     
  13. txtony

    txtony Member

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    Biden should appoint an Infrastructure Czar, right @Os Trigonum ? ;)

    The ad hoc nature of US infrastructure planning (or lack of) and development has lead the US to the bottom of the pile vs other rich countries. The last time we were great in infrastructure was when we had a nationalize plan.
     
  14. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com
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    My best friend is a higher up at the DOT. He said that if they were allowed to raise gasoline tax by 10-15 cents a gallon. We wouldn't need any toll roads in Texas at all and they would be able to fix pretty much every issue with the current roads and bridges. We haven't had a tax increase on gas since 1990, even though the cost of gas has doubled and quadrupled since then.
     
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  15. ElPigto

    ElPigto Member
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    I disagree with flood infrastructure, but may be I'm not quite sure what you are referring too. Just in the last couple of years:
    • Many jurisdictions in the area, including Houston and Harris County, updated their rainfall data to those produced in the NOAA Atlas 14 study. Example, our 100-yr, 24-hr rainfall event used to be 12.4 inches, now it is 17.4 inches.
      • This means higher flows are generated, thus larger infrastructure has to be built (wider channels, larger detention basins, larger storm sewers, etc).
    • Floodplain criteria was updated to reflect that any structure within the 500-year flood plain must be elevated a minimum of 2-feet above the 500-yr base level elevation. For critical infrastructure, such as control panels for lift stations, water plants, etc it has to be elevated 3-feet above the base level elevation.
    • The voters approved a $2B+ harris county flood control district bond to improve channels for flood conveyance.
      • This also included buying out several homes in the floodplain (some voluntary and some were mandatory).
      • I believe feds matched $2B+ of this as well.
    • Development in the floodway is basically impossible now.
    • We do have Rebuild Houston (which started in 09-10) which has a dedicated drainage fund in our water bills that we pay that generates fund for street and drainage improvements in the City of Houston limits.
    • Harris County Flood Control District here in Houston worked on desilting a ton of channels recently to increase conveyance capacity.
    The fact is, as you yourself has stated in the past, it takes years to really implement solutions that will truly help, so seeing the effects of all the improvements that are being worked on now, we probably won't see until a few years down the line. Improving channels can be an incredibly time consuming process. For example, a channel project requires all sorts of studies prior to starting design. If jurisdictional waters are identified, you have no choice but to acquire a permit from the corps of engineers, which takes a minimum of 18 months. Widening channels means purchasing right-of-way which almost always requires going through eminent domain since not all landowners want to sell and that can extend the process a minimum of 18-months as well. Then you have random factors sometimes, like for example, finding an bald eagles nest, which then requires you to re-align your project to create a buffer between the nest and project limits. Etc.

    There is one major project I'm looking forward within the City limits that was identified by the corps of engineers in 1940!!! This is the bypass channel from White Oak Bayou to Buffalo Bayou which will help upstream and as well protect downtown as well.
     
  16. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Trust the process
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    not sure the bolded is correct:

    https://www.dollartimes.com/inflation/items/price-of-a-gallon-of-gas-in-1990
     
  17. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    On the power side, to be clear, the transmission and distribution infrastructure seems to have held up pretty well. In fact, Texas has one of the better grids in the county. The infrastructure at fault here are power plants and gas wells which are owned by investors or by ratebased monopolies. I'm not inclined to give government money to either of those parties. Pass a law saying your plant must conform to a new minimum standard for resiliency or you can't participate in the market. Then shareholders pay instead of taxpayers or rate payers.

    I'm optimistic that improvements will be made. To elpigto's point, we have taken some real action to address flooding. But these big infrastructure solutions take awhile. What I am a bit concerned about is that we'll solve for floods and winter-storms and neglect to solve for wildfires or somesuch crisis we haven't had in awhile.

    (In the Midwest and Northeast, they had a similar polar vortex event in 2014. So cold, power plants failed. In a wholesale market called PJM, power plants would be paid two ways -- first, they participated in a capacity auction where they would be paid to be available to generate. Then, they'd be paid again for actually generating. In 2014 though, a bunch of power plants who were paid to be available were not available. And the capacity auction rules didn't have any teeth to take back the money they were paid to be available. They've reformed since then and now when you win a capacity auction it comes with financial consequences if you fail to produce when called. Gencos are now more cautious about really weatherizing. Some people really like this capacity market, and you'll see some people using this crisis to say Texas should get one. I'm not real convinced. For one, I don't like having to pay for extra capacity to sit around just in case -- shareholders should wear that risk. For two, it's best suited to dispatchable power (read fossil fuels) and they struggle to accommodate intermittent generation (ie, renewables).)
     
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  18. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com
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    Os Trigonum likes this.
  19. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Trust the process
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    no, I get that. But the cost of gas hasn’t doubled/quadrupled since 1990

    if you like gas taxes come spend your next vacation in New York state ;)
     
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  20. Nook

    Nook Member

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    There is a lot of jealousy in the Midwest and other run-down economic areas. Hell, the state of Texas ran commercials on the radio telling businesses in the Midwest to come to Texas. That doesn't sit well at all with areas that have seen better days. I say that as someone that is living in Chicago.
     

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