Maybe the infrastructure isn’t all junk?

From the Star Ledger:

Andrew Cuomo shows Phil Murphy the light at the end of the tunnel

Our governor was off on an African safari for the holidays. Meanwhile New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was doing some pretty impressive legwork in the area of transportation.

“His panel of experts had been working for weeks behind the scenes, even on Christmas and New Year’s Day,” the New York Times reported.

That was in an article last week reporting that Andrew Cuomo shocked the entire “transportation-industrial complex” by doing something unheard of in this part of the world: He chose a practical solution over an expensive one that promised what New Yorkers were calling the “L-pocalypse.”

That’s the name that was given to the planned 18-month closure of two Sandy-damaged tunnels used by subway riders from Brooklyn to get to their jobs in Manhattan.

Cuomo canceled the closure after he did something that our governor ought to do when it comes to the two tunnels under the Hudson River that send our commuters to Manhattan:

He took a tour of the problem areas with some experts who don’t have their palms out looking for pork.

Those experts were from the engineering schools at Columbia and Cornell universities. When they looked at the damage caused to those two tunnels by Hurricane Sandy, they concluded that there was a more efficient way to address the two problem areas than shutting the tunnels down.

One problem was the wiring, which is at the bottom of the tube and got soaked in sections. Instead of repairing it in place, they suggested running new wiring at the top of the tunnels. Problem solved.

The other was damage to the “bench walls,” the concrete paths running alongside the train. The prior plan had been to replace the entire bench wall. The profs suggested fixing only the problem areas, which are relatively small.

Cuomo took their advice and on Friday he announced that the shutdown will be canceled. Those repairs can be done on weekends and at night.

This being New York, there was a lot of grumbling from various entrenched interests. But a headline from a real-estate news website cited the consensus among those who would have been directly affected: “Real estate community and hipsters rejoice over canceled L Train shutdown.”

Cuomo’s plan will save them all a lot of grief. And according to one former transit executive, it would also work for those tunnels under the Hudson that are central to the proposed Gateway Development Project that includes representatives from both states as well as Amtrak.

Former Long Island Rail Road executive Joe Clift said the damage caused by Sandy to those subway tunnels was actually much worse than the damage to the tunnels that carry NJ Transit and Amtrak.

“If you can do it for the tunnel with the most damage, you can do it for the tunnel with the least damage,” Clift said.

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48 Responses to Maybe the infrastructure isn’t all junk?

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Gov. Murphy’s dark money grab

    One great advantage of electing a governor as rich as Phil Murphy, we were told, is that he could not be bought. With his own chest full of gold coins, he would never need to scrape and beg for help from special interest groups seeking his favor.

    But it hasn’t worked out that way. A month after his election, Murphy’s senior political team opened a dark money fund and began soliciting donations.

    It came as a surprise, since Murphy had promised to bring new transparency to Trenton, and the identity of the new donors was kept secret, along with how much they gave. To quiet the critics, Murphy’s campaign manager and senior advisor, Brendan Gill, who helps manage the fund, promised to come clean by the end of 2018 and reveal the identity of the donors.

    They just broke that promise. So, today, special interest groups are giving money to Murphy’s cause — no doubt because they expect him to do their bidding — and the public has no clue who they are.

    Is the money coming from public worker unions who negotiate contracts with Murphy? Is it coming from marijuana firms that are scrambling to shape the law legalizing adult sales? Is it coming from law firms that have contracts with the state government? They won’t say.

    The official explanation for the secrecy is ludicrous: “Our supporters have come under increased attacks from powerful special interests seeking to preserve the status quo in recent months,” said Phil Swibinski, a spokesman for the organization, New Direction New Jersey.

    Really? They’ve come under attack, even though their names haven’t been revealed? How does that work?

  2. grim says:

    I think this is a great idea, some might not agree.

    Elimination of the need to visit a doctor to obtain an RX for a chronic condition treated by a common prescription drug..

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/trump-s-fda-might-greenlight-drug-prescribing-apps-for-chronic-ailments?srnd=premium

  3. grim says:

    Seems fairly positive that the democrats appear to be formalizing a new message heading into 2020. Consensus is forming, ideas beginning to gel, frameworks put in place, talk tracks and speaking points being optimized.

    “We’re going to raise your motherf*cking taxes.”

    Well done, good luck with that.

  4. aj says:

    Not picking sides here, just pointing out that there are two sides to every story…

    https://nypost.com/2019/01/04/cuomos-tunnel-experts-have-spent-just-an-hour-evaluating-damage/

  5. chicagofinance says:

    I heard a new distillery is being built on a highway in Clifton….. the name is based on what the owner’s grandfather used to say….
    “Kurwa, mój syn jest w więzieniu.”

    Libturd…look me up in Costa Rica says:
    January 7, 2019 at 8:35 pm
    Did his grandpappy really say, “MuckleyEye?”

    Sounds an awful lot like Mackinlay’s.

  6. Libturd...look me up in Costa Rica says:

    Lord knows that if Chi were to open a distillery it would be named, “Gangnam Style.”

  7. leftwing says:

    ExPat, By……

    Please guys stop responding to the village idiot. The threads will be better. Your life will be better.

    The sum total of his contributions here is a pathological need to type ‘see I was right!’. That, and recommending penny stocks and outing his wife’s sexual proclivities. The guy is a walking case study of the DSM5.

    Let’s fact check the genius you are trying to reason with….he makes the bold ‘prediction’ there will be wage inflation ten years out. Guess what guys? For the last 50+ years wages have gone up every single year. Every. Single. Year. But wait, even during the recessions of ’69, ’73, ’80, ’82, ’91, ’01, and ’09 you say? You betcha. Wages increased from 4-9% during every recession the economy has experienced over the last 50 years. Again, for emphasis, wages have grown every single year of the last 50…

    So, here’s what you are doing…..you are having a conversation with someone who deems himself to be so brilliant as to have a ‘special Forest gump like talent’ to predict something ten years out that has happened 100% of the time. Read that again. He believes he is a genius by predicting something that occurs 100% of the time. LOL.

    And, omfug, who even thinks that Gump comment, let alone publicly typing it. Where is the cringe emoticon?

    He is the worst type of fool, someone so ignorant so as to not be able to recognize his own stupidity. And then blurts it out publicly looking for affirmation. Textbook definition of the village idiot.

    Ignore him for two weeks please, that’s all I’m asking. I’m begging you. I haven’t responded to the fool since Oct 2017. You’ll feel much better, believe me, and the blog will be a better place.

  8. Libturd...look me up in Costa Rica says:

    3b,

    We all did work out butts off back then. I remember plenty of 80 hour weeks and plenty of 30 straight-hour shifts.

  9. Ottoman says:

    It’s either that or guillotines. Pick your poison.

    BTW, why don’t you refresh our memories on the tax rates in place when America was “great”. You know, when there was an actual, growing middle class and upward mobility.

    Total coincidence that things started falling apart right about the same time as the arrival of all the trickle down bullish!t.

    “We’re going to raise your motherf*cking taxes.”

  10. Ottoman says:

    The idiots here are 100% incapable of checking their overinflated egos and keeping silent. They’d rather complain incessantly about Pumpkin’s idiocy (not sure if that’s you you’re talking about) and puffing up their own superiority rather than snuffing him out with indifference.

    leftwing says:
    January 8, 2019 at 9:30 am
    ExPat, By……

    Please guys stop responding to the village idiot. The threads will be better. Your life will be better.

  11. Nomad says:

    Grim,

    D party has its own upcoming challenges. AOC represents the thinking of many of her age. Some, not all of their gripes are legit ($21T in debt). So you got moderate D’s and D’s who are pushing way left. Similar bifurcation among R party too. Wonder if something centrist surfaces as a result. Despite all the theatre in politics, most are centrists.

  12. Ottoman says:

    “I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” Crystal Minton told The New York Times in an article published Monday. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

    MAGA LULZ

  13. leftwing says:

    Otto, no superiority complex here. I’m very comfortable in my own skin with warts and all. And I have some big ones…

    I have not responded to him in nearly a year and a half.

    Blog is just becoming unreadable with him. Everyone else contributes something to the conversation, you included. He doesn’t. Waste of cyberspace.

  14. Fast Eddie says:

    Otto,

    Total coincidence that things started falling apart right about the same time as the arrival of all the trickle down bullish!t.

    That trickle down bullsh1t enabled me to be hired by a company that has more money than you and has enabled me to create a net worth greater than yours. Don’t be resentful because you have a small c0ck and repeatedly fail in trying to please a woman.

  15. leftwing says:

    Otto, I don’t have the time to google it but suggest looking at effective not marginal tax rates during the periods you mention. Pre-tax reform there were so many shelters and carveouts that while the marginal rate was an AOC 70+% no one at the upper income levels paid anywhere near that.

    I would dare say that if you compare W2 earners of $1m from back then and post-trickle down (inflation adjusted) that the current day earners are paying a higher effective rate even though published marginal rates are lower.

  16. The Great Pumpkin says:

    You f’en jerkoff. So the people complaining about stagnating raises were making stuff up? You are such a self absorbed prick, it’s not even funny. BTW, Mr. Elitist, I didn’t call wage inflation 10 years out. I called it 5 years out…..I called the exact year at a time no one thought it was possible, hence the name, The Great pumpkin.

    I don’t know what delusional world you are living in, but get your facts straight before you attack me.

    Btw, I put forest gump out there for a laugh, since you think I’m an idiot lucking into these calls. You clearly have no sense of humor.

    Also, my 10 year out call was based on the roaring 20’s 2.0 call. Get it straight before you attack me.

    “Let’s fact check the genius you are trying to reason with….he makes the bold ‘prediction’ there will be wage inflation ten years out. Guess what guys? For the last 50+ years wages have gone up every single year. Every. Single. Year. But wait, even during the recessions of ’69, ’73, ’80, ’82, ’91, ’01, and ’09 you say? You betcha. Wages increased from 4-9% during every recession the economy has experienced over the last 50 years. Again, for emphasis, wages have grown every single year of the last 50…”

  17. 3b says:

    Lib my workday was 7:30 to 5:00 so no complaints but it was intense and stressful on a trading floor everyday. And you had to produce!! The hours got bad when some weeks there were 3 dinners a week and we were out to all hours but had to be back on that desk by 7:30 the next or should I say same day!!

  18. leftwing says:

    Pumpkin: “There will be wage inflation in five years”

    Yardeni: “There has been wage inflation every year for the last 50 years”

    Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does”

  19. The Great Pumpkin says:

    From an unbiased poster…. I don’t contribute? Some of the best calls on this blog since 2012.

    texting says:
    January 7, 2019 at 4:17 pm
    Well, lets not go so hard at pumpkin. Looks like his calls were not bad

    1-Housing calls since 2012
    2-Stock market calls
    3-short term call on Amazon
    4- wage inflation

    Expat, what calls you got to show in here.??

    leftwing says:

    Blog is just becoming unreadable with him. Everyone else contributes something to the conversation, you included. He doesn’t. Waste of cyberspace.

  20. No One says:

    Even with the high stated tax rates of the 50s and 60s there were many loopholes, so taxes as a % of income were not much higher then than now. But these loopholes were set up to make people jump through hoops that favor certain special interests. Thus the high tax rates didn’t collect more revenue, but instead distorted the economy and favored those with the political pull to get loopholes created that favored them. Still that would have been better than a 70% tax rate with no loopholes whatsoever, which would take away the incentive to do much economically for the most economically productive people. Then US companies would start going Japanese and have companies spend on perks for their top employees – (not you Punkin or Otto) competing on non-cash considerations. The big impact question is whether or not to tax capital gains. Most economists think that it’s inefficient to tax such gains. But that’s where a lot of “rich” income comes from. Imagine someday Punkin’s dream comes true and he sells granny’s house for $1m profit. That year he becomes a millionaire after 20 years of waiting for the big payday. AOC then smacks that gain with a 70% tax and suddenly his dream of retiring on the shore fizzles. Otto on the other hand will never have to worry about being taxed on such gains – he’ll just be looking for the next government teat to suckle, and angry that AOC’s tax fed bosoms aren’t expressing the amount of milk and honey as promised.

  21. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Listen, I agree with you. What I don’t agree with is corporations and billionaires buying tax loopholes and paying 20% or almost nothing. That’s garbage, and allows for massive wealth to be built on the backs of workers paying as high as 39%, who have to make up this difference.

    At the end of the day, I just want a fair system for EVERYONE, not the chosen ones for votes (poor)or campaign funding(rich).

    “That year he becomes a millionaire after 20 years of waiting for the big payday. AOC then smacks that gain with a 70% tax and suddenly his dream of retiring on the shore fizzles.”

  22. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Doing a hell of a job showing your stubborn side. Just because you hate me, you are taking the opposite position and making yourself looking ignorant in the process. Nice job!

    leftwing says:
    January 8, 2019 at 10:17 am
    Pumpkin: “There will be wage inflation in five years”

    Yardeni: “There has been wage inflation every year for the last 50 years”

    Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does”

  23. ExEssex says:

    Diblasio extending healthcare in NYC to everyone.

    Fascinatin!

  24. EnriqueMoime says:

    CP LOL VIDEOS :

    cuu.su/jE2

  25. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Roaring 20’s 2.0 on its way.

    “The number of job openings in the U.S. are exceeding new hires by a record amount. In October, there were 7.1 million job openings nationwide, about 1 million more than the number of unemployed workers”

    “”If this goes on for another couple of years, then yes of course we’ll be running into labor shortages,” said Ryan Sweet, an economist who tracks regional economies at Moody’s Analytics.

    In some places, the labor shortages are already here.”

    reut.rs/2CUbYG0

  26. The Great Pumpkin says:

    My post last night supported by the article I just posted.

    The Great Pumpkin says:
    January 7, 2019 at 9:02 pm
    Someone was driving the feds need to raise rates, but you believe 60% of the population didn’t get a raise? It’s just not making sense to me. At the end of the day, over 300,000 jobs added going into 2019. Monster numbers!! Let’s go!! Raises will come for everyone in time, they won’t have enough workers after boomers go into retirement.

  27. The Great Pumpkin says:

    But according to lefty, I talk out of my a$$. Lmao

    Prove it, dude!

  28. grim says:

    Democrats love to create tax benefits that the wealthy can take advantage of.

  29. D-FENS says:

    This incentivizes students to major in studies that actually get them good paying jobs.

    No Tuition, but You Pay a Percentage of Your Income (if You Find a Job)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/business/dealbook/education-student-loans-lambda-schools.html

    What if there were a way to eliminate student debt? No, really.

    Student debt reached a new height last year — a whopping $1.5 trillion. A typical student borrower will have $22,000 in debt by graduation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

    Now, Silicon Valley is backing a novel idea that proposes to rewrite the economics of getting an education.

    The concept is deceptively simple: Instead of charging students tuition — which often requires them to take out thousands of dollars in loans — students go to school for free and are required to pay back a percentage of their income after graduation, but only if they get a job with a good salary.

    The idea, known as an Income Share Agreement, or I.S.A., has been experimented with and talked about for years. But what’s happening at Lambda School, an online learning start-up founded in 2017 with the backing of Y Combinator, has captivated venture capitalists.

  30. D-FENS says:

    Or…maybe colleges will only offer majors that produce good paying jobs… oh the humanity!

  31. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    I’ll take the Nostradumba$$ challenge

    Ignore him for two weeks please, that’s all I’m asking. I’m begging you. I haven’t responded to the fool since Oct 2017. You’ll feel much better, believe me, and the blog will be a better place.

  32. Fast Eddie says:

    D-FENS,

    You mean my major in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and minor in puppetry is useless?

  33. D-FENS says:

    At Lambda, students pay nothing upfront. But they are required to pay 17 percent of their salary to Lambda for two years if they get a job that pays more than $50,000. (Lambda says 83 percent of its students get a job with a median salary of $70,000 within six months of graduating.) If they don’t get a job, or their salary is lower, they pay nothing. Payments are capped at $30,000, so a highly paid student isn’t penalized for success, and if a student loses a job, the payments pause.

    It is a model that so far has been aimed at vocational education but has the potential to end the crushing cycle of student debt and change the way schools think about students.
    “It aligns the incentives fully,” said Mr. Lewis, the venture capitalist.

    The school is incentivized to only enroll motivated students who won’t drop out; it is incentivized to successfully teach them the skills they will need on the job; it is incentivized to find them a job; and it is incentivized to make sure they are a success once they’re on the job because the school relies on employers to keep hiring its graduates.

  34. No One says:

    Every party in power likes to sell their power to the highest bidder to help them retain their power and enrich themselves. That’s a pretty good nutshell of “Public Choice” theory.
    Given that this will forever be the case, and decades of talk about reducing corruption has failed (because it’s asking the foxes to guard the henhouse), the only bigger picture solution is to gather popular support for more limited government – restricting the power that politicians can wield in government. Lower taxes, less regulation, less control. If that principle could be enforced structurally, then demand for lobbying would also dry up.
    However, that would require an ethical/political revolution almost as big as the one of 1776, given how far American ideals have declined.

  35. Fast Eddie says:

    Perhaps a major in Meme Studies is useful. I think a millennial would definitely hire me with this sort after skill set.

  36. 3b says:

    And then then of course outsourcing, and robots and AI will replace those good paying jobs! Seeing it in Accounting for a while now!

  37. chicagofinance says:
  38. JCer says:

    left most telling thing is total tax burden as a percentage of GDP has more or less been constant at around 17% for the last 50 years. The fact that upsets the left is that before the bush tax cuts taxes as a percentage of GDP were at something like a 70 year high. The truth is a wide base is needed to effectively collect revenue, politically target taxes almost never have the intended impact.

    Taxation is just one piece the other is the effectiveness of the spend, the federal government is tremendously wasteful. Taxes are close to the level they should be but we aren’t getting what we are paying for. Also the distribution is very skewed towards “higher earners”.

  39. D-FENS says:

    Constitutional convention codifying term limits.

    No One says:
    January 8, 2019 at 1:40 pm
    Every party in power likes to sell their power to the highest bidder to help them retain their power and enrich themselves. That’s a pretty good nutshell of “Public Choice” theory.
    Given that this will forever be the case, and decades of talk about reducing corruption has failed (because it’s asking the foxes to guard the henhouse), the only bigger picture solution is to gather popular support for more limited government – restricting the power that politicians can wield in government. Lower taxes, less regulation, less control. If that principle could be enforced structurally, then demand for lobbying would also dry up.
    However, that would require an ethical/political revolution almost as big as the one of 1776, given how far American ideals have declined.

  40. Bystander says:

    3b,

    Buried in the great jobs report is that accounting is not one of growing areas. Of course, auditing is a big area. In other words, let AI f up your books then hire a bunch of people to figure what processees are broken. In mean time, management gets heavy bonus for cost reductions.

  41. 3b says:

    When the stock market was dropping like a stone at the end of the year FB was ablaze with its all Trumps fault! When now it appears to be stabilizing and perhaps rising again it’s crickets on FB! Just saying!! People are so silly!!

  42. texting says:

    Pumpkin,

    its not the roaring 2020s, its the chinese… LOL
    Wonder what happens when the chinese money is gone?

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/08/chinese-middle-class-buying-up-american-residential-real-estate.html

  43. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Texting,

    That article offers good evidemce as to why you should not judge real estate prices based on the income in said location. Locals are not the only buyers in the market.

    Real estate is a bad investment according to some, yet you have legions of foreigners buying up American real estate as the new gold.

  44. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Might not appreciate like a stock, but it’s a got damn safe long term place to put your money, esp if you are collecting passive income from some renter who believes renting is better than owning.

    Renting in the short term can be beneficial to owning, but no way in hell long term. If you are smart, you buy and live in that location for as long as you can. Mobile living is for people that love to continually pay top dollar for their living costs. It’s like leasing vs owning a car long term. The longer you live in that home, the cheaper your living costs become, just as the longer you own a car, the cheaper it is.

  45. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    As per the 60 minutes interview yesterday on Xyleco…their board looks like a mirror image of Theranos. In fact, George Shultz, the idiot board member of Theranos is on it! This guy turned on his own grandson when his grandson blew the whistle on Elizabeth Holmes. I’d stay far away on that basis alone.

    I’d like to investigate more though before I form a real scientific opinion on their work.

  46. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    lol, turns out the guy on 60 minutes on Sunday has not one but two board members from Theranos sitting on his board.

  47. Yo! says:

    I read that Bad Blood book describing Theranos. I recommend it – great story and well written.

    Ten years ago, Weyerhaeuser and Chevron formed a venture called Catchmark that tried and failed to produce liquid transportation fuel from biomass. Didn’t come close to commercializing anything so it was quietly shut down. If Weyerhaeuser and Chevron can’t figure it out, I don’t think Xyleco will.

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