Coffman puts ideology before economic recovery
After a decade of choosing to be represented by Tom Tancredo, the most rabid hate-monger in the U.S. government since Joe McCarthy, Congressional District 6 seems determined to continue to embarrass itself and injure the nation by choosing as its congressional delegate the ethically and intellectually challenged partisan hack Mike Coffman.
In a dazzling combination of hypocrisy and ignorance, or perhaps just skillful disingenuity, Coffman, in his recent interview with the Courier, opted to be a stubborn and unyielding ideologue in time of national crisis, rather than the responsible and well-informed public servant that we need and deserve, intentionally undermining our president’s efforts to score political points.
Coffman correctly identifies the importance of fostering confidence in the economy but then speaks and acts in a manner calculated to undermine such confidence (by insisting, prematurely and in defiance of both professional economic analyses and historical experience, that President Obama’s stimulus package won’t work), as if, in a form of reasoning that would make Dr. Strangelove proud, he would prefer to derail potential Democratic success in reinvigorating the economy than to suffer the political marginalization that his party’s failed policies have brought upon itself.
Coffman’s politically motivated but otherwise baseless disdain for our new president, who towers over him in every conceivable way, should cause us to wince in painful commiseration of his public folly. Instead, we elect to be the fools by electing him to public office, and then complaining about the quality of our elected officials.
We live in a remarkable time, when we as a nation have pulled ourselves from the brink of the abyss of well-deserved international disrepute, and may again rise to be a light of liberty, wisdom, compassion and justice in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if CD6, too, chose to leave behind our dark and shameful recent past, and instead join our beloved country in embracing that brighter and more enlightened future whose promise is ours to fulfill?
FASTER is an unfair way to fund road and bridge work
FASTER, the proposed highway and bridge funding bill, plans new fees on annual vehicle registrations from $29 to $71 based on vehicle weights. The fees will go into the state highway funds for maintenance, repair and new construction.
Under FASTER, a 4,000-pound car would pay an additional $41 in fees each year. A combination of a truck tractor and trailer can weigh around 60,000 pounds and would pay $142 in additional fees, $71 each for the tractor and the trailer.
The truck pays 3.5 times what the car does, but it weighs 15 times that of the car. If the new fees are based on how much road damage a vehicle causes related to its weight, then should the truck pay 3.5 times more, 15 times more, or some other amount?
Studies have developed a formula for estimating what is called “highway fatigue” based on vehicle weights. Highway fatigue is the major type of damage that requires the most expensive repairs. Research supporting the formula is found in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 353, titled “Effects of Heavy-Vehicle Characteristics on Pavement Response and Performance.”
The research finds that fatigue does not increase directly as weight increases, but increases exponentially. Fatigue is a function of axle weight and the number of axles. The formula purports a power-of-four increase in fatigue for a doubling of axle weight. My son, a senior civil engineering student at CSU, says the power is more commonly reduced to 2.5 to obtain more conservative figures. Using the lower power, the 60,000-pound truck can still be expected to cause 270 times the damage of the 4,000-pound car, but the truck will only pay 3.5 times as much in fees. Accordingly, the proposed FASTER fees are grossly inequitable and put a very unfair highway financing burden on car owners.
Information on FASTER, more formally known as Senate Bill 08, and how to contact state legislators can be found at the Colorado General Assembly website, www.leg.state.co.us.