Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CSX Train Derailments & PEPCO's Direct Mail Propaganda // Will Infrastructure Spending Ever Become a Policy Priority?

Pepco's electricity customers in the DC Metro region have been receiving direct mail letters defending the company's response to recent power outages. You may have received the lame letter below over the last few weeks, but note that it doesn't really talk about long-term solutions to Maryland's terrible electrical infrastructure. See the piece below.

Meanwhile, yesterday a CSX freight train derailed in Ellicott City and killed two women. The Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser notes that there have been twenty CSX derailments in Maryland since 2010. Twenty!

What Maryland Juice wants to know is what it will take to get policymakers and corporations to start investing in infrastructure again. Over and over, Americans witness lame underfunding of critical infrastructure -- think overcrowded WMATA trains, infrequent MARC service, and embarassingly limited Amtrak service, as examples. And that's before we even talk about building new infrastructure like Baltimore's Red Line or Montgomery County's Purple Line.

Does anyone even remember the Minnesota bridge collapse or the catastrophic flooding of New Orleans? It seems America has an alarmingly short-sighted approach to all things involving infrastructure, and PEPCO doesn't seem to mind.
Pepco Maryland-DC Metro "Derecho" Direct Mail Letter

I suppose it makes sense for a company to try and defend its public image when people are making videos about them (see eg, the "F*ck You Pepco" video below). But wouldn't it be better if Pepco and Maryland started working on a plan to upgrade the area's power infrastructure? It seems to me that policymakers and corporations alike don't seem interested in long-term infrastructure investment anymore and instead seek short-term band-aids. But I also suppose that direct mail is cheaper than buried electrical cables. Talk, after all, is cheap.

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