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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

A Reply to ‘Obama Our Infrastructure Hero’: Letter from a New Orleans engineer/blogger



In reply to “Barack, You’re Totally Our Infrastructure Hero” (below), our friend Tim Ruppert of Tim’s Nameless Blog points out that in fact the infrastructure part of Obama’s economic agenda doesn’t appear till near the end of the plan. Also, the senator doesn’t mention the words ‘Katrina,’ ‘levees,’ ‘flood,’ ‘Corps of Engineers,’ etc. (Tim Ruppert is a New Orleans–born engineer at the Corps of Engineers, N.O., and a past president of the Louisiana chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Politicians will say whatever they think they must say to win the election. When Obama was in New Orleans [2/7/08] his proposals were all centered on rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Once he left Louisiana air space—nary a mention. In the subject policy paper the following words appear ZERO times: levees, flood, hurricanes, Katrina, Corps of Engineers, Gulf Coast . . .

Obama may very well be the best man for the job, but these broadside, laundry-list, promise-everything-to-everybody speeches count against him in my estimation. I want a candidate who will give the virtually the same speech to all Americans. If you believe in something, stand up and fight for it, don’t hide it or show it selectively.

Stand up and fight, indeed. Ruppert’s right that infrastructure is too important to be left to page 6 of an 8-page program. And it’s true that healthy infrastructure is something every state needs, whether it’s well-maintained bridges and tunnels or reinforced levees, and the candidates should be talking it up everywhere they go. (See “America’s Infrastructure” after the jump, below.) We fully agree, and it’s up to Us the People to keep the politicians focused. As we said at the end of ‘Infrastructure Hero,’ “Obama has some great ideas for the economy, the nation’s infrastructure, and environmental protection. But if he is elected we the people will have to keep after him, as we would with any other president, to deliver on the promises.”

On Feb. 7, the day of Obama’s appearance at Tulane University, Ruppert posted an open letter thanking the senator “for taking a strong stand in support of building significantly improved hurricane protections around the New Orleans area.” Tim also clarified the technical meaning of the term ‘100-year storm,’ often used but little understood. This was one of the topics of his PowerPoint presentation “In Levees We Trust” at the Rising Tide conference of Katrina bloggers in New Orleans last August in which Tim, speaking as a citizen not a Corps man, gave an excellent overview of repairs since Katrina and to come by 2011 (See “Making Blogging Sexy” after the jump.)

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