Yesterday at the Maker Faire I spoke to a recent US arrival, who said to me that they felt the US was heading towards being a third world nation. I asked them what they meant, and they said everything feels a bit run down. I too have come to this conclusion, but I am interested in why it might be so.
I just read Asphalt Nation by Jane Holtz Kay and she tars the US with much the same steamroller. Essentially, the US has been spending $60B a year building roads, and $600M a year on public transport. Is it any surprise that 99% of vehicle trips are by car?
Now that the US has built roads everywhere, they are falling apart. Bridges are collapsing, the road pavement around here is in a terrible state and the I25 is so bad that Shamrock airport express gets only 5 years out of their buses. But still federal money is use to build _new_ roads. Mental says that the federal government uses road money as a stick to beat the states with.
The book itself is rather waffly, and could probably have said much the same stuff in half the words, but her research seems quite complete.