Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Infrastructure Comment

My wife and I are OTR team truck drivers that drive to the west coast, usually California, every week. We drive 24/7 for 4 1/2 days to 5 days, stopping only for fuel and to drop or pick-up freight. Are standard line is we work 1 day a week, friday, and it takes us 36 hours to get to work and 36 hours to get home. Last week was a good example, we left NC wednesday afternoon and arrived in CA about 5 am friday, had a drop in LA and then 3 drops in the Bay area, then had a pick-up in the Bakersfield area. We left CA about noon saturday and was home early monday morning. For that time we do everything in our truck ; eat, sleep, play basketball, swim,go to the movies, and facebook...all while cruising 70 mph on the interstate. We bought a netbook so we can try and stay in touch on the road but we have two large problems....caused by an interstate in serious disrepair. The first problem is lack of sleep--Federal Standards require 10 hours of sleep per day for a drivers get theirs while the other driver drives...but good luck. In most states the interstate is so poor, and the truck bounces so rough, that you can sleep only if you're dead tired...4-6 hours at the most. It also makes it very frustrating trying to use the computer, or even to read.
Our infrastructure investment has been shortchanged for years, even the stimulus spending allocated only (?) $144 billion, out of the $787 billion. According to IHS Global Insight, an economic consulting firm, U.S. spending on transportation infrastructure will actually decline in 2009 when state budgets are factored in. The American Society of Civil Engineers contends that the U.S. should invest $1.6 trillion in our ageing infrastructure over the next 5 years (Time,11/23).
Anyway, something to think about.