We began our second year with Vol. V, Art. 1 “Interlocking Pieces”. We couldn’t have known it at the time, but the observations we cited by transportation and supply chain officials in that article have turned out to be more meaningful today than when the observations were made.

President Obama’s campaign promises, as we know now, were nothing more than pie-in-the-sky. He got what he wanted – the presidency – but we’re still waiting for the 3,000,000 jobs he was using as bait. Those jobs were to be generated by programs that would concentrate on the updating of our nation’s “infrastructure”. Roads, bridges, railways, and the like, would all be upgraded, and along with all those jobs our new and improved transportation arteries would bring needed efficiencies to the nation’s supply chain as well as unspecified benefits to the end user – the consumer.

There are a number of reasons why those “infrastructure” projects won’t take place, but the biggest reason is that those in power have a different use for federal funds [read: taxpayer money]. We know all about the bailouts for Wall Street and for “Bernanke’s Banksters”, and we’re just now beginning to hear rumors about the “stealth” bailout being planned for favored insurance companies. As for job creation and “infrastructure” upgrading? Forget about it. From the very first, the administration had other plans for those funds.

We will be told that environmental concerns far outweigh the need for supply chain improvements. Air quality, as we know, is of the utmost importance. And who can deny that? If further thought is given to putting more trucks on our highways, environmentalists would mount strong challenges, the administration would say. So those 3,000,000 new jobs? Gone – but ecologists will be blamed for that part of the ongoing recession, not the administration. A convenient out, but that’s not the real reason for shelving the WPA-like programs. Here’s an excerpt from “Interlocking Pieces”:

“2. Mr. Chuck Raymond has endorsed short sea shipping as an efficient and cost-effective way of transporting containers from one U.S. port to another, and from one U.S. coastal region to another. Mr. Raymond’s reasons for taking this position are obvious and commendable. He has in the past directed our attention to the unacceptable levels of pollution generated by truck traffic as well as to the heavy cost of building new highways. As opposed to inexpensive coastal waterways, Mr. Raymond reminds us that new highway construction costs $ 32 million per mile. Increasing the number of container handling ports will not only remove unacceptable levels of pollution but will also provide more efficient service and lower costs to a great number of end users. Until we embrace the logic behind Mr. Raymond’s reasoning, and until more ports are equipped to handle containers, problems with our infrastructure and the cost of goods will continue to mount.”

Everything about Mr. Raymond’s comment makes perfect sense, and eventually the nation’s shipyards and millions of shipbuilders will be providing the container ships needed to effect the benefits spelled out by his observation. You can take it to the bank. But that $ 32 million per mile? For thousands of miles of “infrastructure” upgrading? That wouldn’t leave a heckuva lot for bailouts now, would it? And that’s why we’ll never see those 3,000,000 promised “infrastructure” jobs.