Join 3,416 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Baltimore Landslide
May 1, 2014 6:55 PM   Subscribe

After heavy rains all week, an entire side of a street in Baltimore collapsed in spectacular fashion, destroying several cars in the process, though injuring no one. (collapse occurs at the 1:10 mark). The retaining wall which collapsed had been a problem for the community for years, and Baltimore's collapsing infrastructure has been a recurring problem in the city, which only threatens to get worse. This is a larger problem for America as a whole, with the Society of Civil Engineers giving the country a D+ for its current overall infrastructure quality.
posted by codacorolla (64 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
But they cut taxes FUCK YEAH AMERICA!

I've honestly given up. The idiots and assholes have won.
posted by eriko at 6:57 PM on May 1 [43 favorites]


Wow. For 1 minute and 15 seconds of that video, I was thinking that "spectacular" was a bit of a stretch.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 7:03 PM on May 1 [26 favorites]


Obviously not a Barksdale corner.
posted by valkane at 7:06 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]


Meanwhile, Larry Ellison has a boat that follows his main boat around, picking up the basketballs that fly off the court.

This is truly the land of equal opportunity.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:16 PM on May 1 [22 favorites]


nothing tears stuff up like water
posted by thelonius at 7:18 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


What the hell? Infrastructure is great down here, this is the city of Baltimore's corrupt ass that needs to accept the full blame.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:19 PM on May 1


Hah! I almost wrote an FPP about this an hour ago. I used to live about two and a half blocks from here. Crazy.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:19 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


(codacorolla's post is better than mine would have been. I was just thinking of the "OMG CARS FALLLING IN HOLE LOL WTF" angle, whereas he provided like sociopolitical context and shit.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:21 PM on May 1 [23 favorites]


Believe.
posted by brookeb at 7:22 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


A society grows great when old men* plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

* or old women.
posted by fshgrl at 7:22 PM on May 1 [35 favorites]


A society grows great when old men (and women) plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

That's fantastic!
posted by jperkins at 7:25 PM on May 1


Pensacola got 22 inches of rain this week (click the twitter pics for stunning photos).

Every year seems to bring another "rare" and "freak" weather occurrence. And the victims are disproportionately poor and non-white. Climate change denialists almost seem like a red herring, those with enough wealth to influence infrastructure must be making conscious decisions at this point.
posted by gorbweaver at 7:25 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]


Apparently CSX was planning on running trains on those tracks again by tonight. Can't believe they're planning on doing that before an assessment of the entire area can be completed.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:30 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


The flooding on the Jones Falls was crazy. I briefly had waterfront property last night.
posted by spaltavian at 7:35 PM on May 1


I got my phone and I took it out
I went to the road and I turned around
And I saw cars a-listin' on the rain covered hills
and filmed a landslide bring 'em down
posted by Hume at 7:41 PM on May 1 [13 favorites]


I heard about the B-more sinkhole this morning. I'm out in New Jersey for a transportation conference, so I'm out of my element in terms of weather, and I thought flooded parks and water-logged roads were the norm following a half day of decent rain. After all, it didn't seem like all that much rain, but apparently I was wrong.

Being with a bunch of road and rail geeks, we were talking about this and the sinkhole in Maryland, and people were talking about the chaos that must be going on at their offices.

If CSX is going to run on those rails, you can be pretty sure they're safe, because 1) public scrutiny is high now, especially following the catastrophic derailment in Quebec this past July, and 2) I doubt anyone with cargo on that line is saying "push it through, even if it has a serious chance of derailing and getting ruined." CSX isn't the only ones with something at stake if their rails aren't running right.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:43 PM on May 1


More on the oceanic basketball courts.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:52 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


Being previously from elsewhere I wondered what people in the South do when it rains a foot.

Fun - if you follow a heavy truck closely they displace an amazing amount of water and you can drive in its wake. It's no worse than driving in moderate rain.

Not fun - if the truck makes the light and you don't a 1997 Mercury Tracer floats.
posted by vapidave at 7:54 PM on May 1 [9 favorites]


Washington Post - America’s infrastructure gets a D+. That’s not as bad as it sounds.
...America's infrastructure only warrants a D+, with the ASCE estimating that we'll need to spend an extra $1.6 trillion between now and 2020 to patch things up.

Yet experts say we should approach this figure skeptically. The ASCE is very good at pointing out engineering deficiencies in our infrastructure — but not so good on whether it's actually beneficial to upgrade. "We need this report to point out problems," says Joshua Schank of the Eno Center on Transportation. "But if you're thinking about policy, you have to think more broadly than that."

Indeed, it's worth noting that the ASCE always gives U.S. infrastructure poor grades. From reading past reports, you'd get the impression that it's a miracle the United States is even a functioning country. And it's hardly surprising that an engineering group is in favor of trillions in additional spending on civil-engineering projects.
Food for thought.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:06 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Wow. For 1 minute and 15 seconds of that video, I was thinking that "spectacular" was a bit of a stretch.

No kidding. It looked like a four foot mini-slide for the first minute or so, and I was rolling my eyes about typical east coast exaggeration... and then all the cars dropped off the cliff. Wow.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:06 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Also, a tricky thing about water: it can undermine infrastructure for months or years before the structure gives out in a sudden and terrible way. A sinkhole appeared in the median of I-40, the major east-west interstate in New Mexico, and folks found out that a drainage pipe had been clogged for a while, so any draining water went around the pipe, undermining the structure. It gave out all at once, but didn't actually damage the roadway.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Wow indeed.


But they cut taxes FUCK YEAH AMERICA!

Just imagine if we could have spent one month's worth of tax money on the US infrastructure instead of pissing it away fighting Bush's friggen war!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:09 PM on May 1 [9 favorites]


Just because engineers say the infrastructure is bad doesn't mean they're lying. It's not hard to believe that tax payers don't give a shit about boring unsexy stuff like roads and schools and that police departments want riot shields and flash bang no-warrant home invasions and bigger and bigger prisons.
posted by bleep at 8:15 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


That was amazing. Like other people I thought the "landslide" had already happened at the beginning and it was just going to be a video of them surveying the damage. Then shit got real.
posted by edheil at 8:22 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


To build on filthy light thief's comment, it's easy to point out that America is need of new infrastructure, but building anything in America is a lot harder--and a lot more expensive--than it ought to be. We need more money, yes, but we also need to spend it more efficiently in order to justify the increased spending. Boondoggles like the California High-Speed Rail project don't exactly inspire confidence that the U.S. can just will a whole new infrastructure into being.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:26 PM on May 1


Keep in mind that a lot of the reason for the ASCE's low marks for infrastructure have nothing to do with safety - it's about congestion or supposedly inadequate capacity for future growth. Fixing all of the unsafe infrastructure is certainly a hard problem, but it's nowhere near as hard as building so much new highway in the U.S. that there is no congestion. Unfortunately building new roads is more politically popular than fixing existing infrastructure.
posted by parudox at 8:37 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Just because engineers say the infrastructure is bad doesn't mean they're lying.

By the time a civil engineer says something is "bad" it's probably already crossed over into terrifying.

Boondoggles like the California High-Speed Rail project

That is an excellent and financially viable project that is hamstrung by the fact California is run by straw chewing gomers and small city nouveau riche. If they'd hired the French company it would be on schedule and set to make a profit. But no, instead they are diligently working to funnel public funds to good ol boy construction companies and shady consultants. It's so frustrating.
posted by fshgrl at 8:37 PM on May 1 [17 favorites]


Perhaps worth mentioning, retaining walls are hard to get right. Really hard. That wall of dirt that is self-supporting after it's exposed can exert a stupefying amount of force on the wall you erect to hold it back year after year. Add water and liquefaction of the soils behind it, and nobody builds strong enough to hold that back because it would be crazy expensive.

I'm not surprised the railroad is putting the tracks back in service; once the debris is cleared from them they're not the problem. If I was the locomotive engineer though I'd be rolling through that gap at about 5 miles an hour because the chance of a further mudslide / collapse is very high.
posted by localroger at 8:39 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


Cash4Lead: it's easy to point out that America is need of new infrastructure, but building anything in America is a lot harder--and a lot more expensive--than it ought to be. We need more money, yes, but we also need to spend it more efficiently in order to justify the increased spending.

That wasn't the greatest of articles, and it completely missed the costs for environmental review and procedures. Mexico can build new roads and rail in no time, but there is no worry about project perimeter and minimizing impacts, let alone checking locations in advance for sensitive species (at least, according to anecdotes I've heard, which seem to match up well with the actual speed for project delivery in Mexico). Also, no unions, for good and for ill.

The viability of rail is a much more complex discussion (balancing cost of right-of-way and access to populations of sufficient density to support rail, environmental review [especially in California], groups lobbying for and against the project, etc, etc, etc), and a complete derail from the topic at hand, so I'll leave it at that.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Believe.
posted by brookeb at 7:22 PM on May 1 [2 favorites +] [!]


That's "Believe, hon."
posted by TwoStride at 9:13 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile, Larry Ellison has a boat that follows his main boat around, picking up the basketballs that fly off the court.

Few in a position to do anything concrete about this really care about collapsing roads unless they park their cars or drive on them, but that Ellison stuff is the kind of gilded insanity that middle school kids learn about in history class, when teacher leads them through the lesson plan about what runs up to violent revolutions and world wars.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:35 PM on May 1 [23 favorites]


That's "Believe, hon."
posted by TwoStride at 9:13 PM on May 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


Actually, it's: "Bleive, hon."
posted by missmobtown at 11:07 PM on May 1 [7 favorites]


Blaming environmental regulations is BS. I have acquired just about every permit possible in the US in my long and varied career and if you have a good project and a solid design, have done your homework and give yourself enough time its just not a problem. I am intimately familiar with this process, believe me.

Large transportation agencies that have a good process and good plans don't have issues getting permits. They start YEARS out and they work with the permitting agencies and they generally want to build good infrastructure and compromises get made and ultimately everyone is cool. Public private partnerships have a myriad of issues because they can't manage the process well. Private companies have the most problems because they are always in a hurry and are profit driven.

When you hear someone saying they can't do something because of governmental regulation/ permitting blah blah blah it means that some agency somewhere is a) rightfully blocking their ill-conceived or poorly described project; b) they don't want to pay for legally required best practices and mitigation measures or c) they want to do something downright illegal or prohibited, like build a hotel on the beach in California. Saying that kind of thing to the media is a DIRECT threat to the agencies and the individual employees who are just doing their jobs and don't get paid enough to put up with developers demanding blanket permits for every half-baked plan they come up at the conceptual stage.
posted by fshgrl at 11:08 PM on May 1 [39 favorites]


straw chewing gomers

Whom we could ignore completely if not for Prop 13.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 11:44 PM on May 1


Holey sh|t! That was terrifying!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:26 AM on May 2


"Also, a tricky thing about water: it can undermine infrastructure for months or years before the structure gives out in a sudden and terrible way. A sinkhole appeared in the median of I-40, "

And you people thought that hole the other day was fake.

We had part of a sea wall collapse and leave railway tracks hanging in mid air in the UK during the recent floods, so its not just America that is crumbling and falling apart.
posted by marienbad at 1:48 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Larry Ellison will fly from anywhere to anywhere else on one of his several private jets, and in private helicopter from airport to his destination, and by private escort the rest of the way.

If he drives, it is purely because he feels like taking one of his limited-edition super cars out for a spin. He does not have to drive anywhere. Certainly not to a medical clinic, a store or a school.

The last thing Larry Ellison and his peers care about is whether they can contribute tax dollars to support the maintenance of local roads. It is utterly irrelevant to everything they see and do.
posted by at by at 3:29 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Regarding 'sinkhole' - is this not case of an unstable wall collapsing in a landslide, as opposed to an undermining ?
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:46 AM on May 2


There have been disputes between residents and CSX about that street at least as far back as 1994.
posted by empath at 3:59 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


nothing tears stuff up like water

Water Always Wins.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:26 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Build it up with penny loaves
Penny loaves, penny loaves
Build it up with penny loaves
My fair lady.
posted by jfuller at 5:28 AM on May 2


I'm not saying environmental review is bad or impossible, but as noted, it adds years to major projects. I think it's great, because these projects are going to be in place for decades at least, so what's a few extra years in the planning? But the public at large doesn't have this scope in mind when the see a problem and hear a solution is in the works. And then there are individual political terms, further foreshortening the scope of discussions. Politicians can't say "I'll start the planning for this project now, and if you keep re-electing me, I'll make sure this gets done." These are the realities of major projects and public perception.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:35 AM on May 2


If they'd hired the French company it would be on schedule and set to make a profit.

French train infrastructure may not be as squeaky-clean as you'd like to think. Sacre bleu!
posted by The River Ivel at 6:36 AM on May 2


nothing tears stuff up like water

I almost drove into a sinkhole that appeared in the middle lane of the expressway I take to work each day but luckily I was in the left lane. A woman ahead of me wasn't so lucky, unfortunately (at least her airbag deployed). That night on the news they showed the hole with a small stream running through it while announcing that NYDOT had not yet determined the cause.
posted by tommasz at 6:36 AM on May 2


Just imagine if we could have spent one month's worth of tax money on the US infrastructure instead of pissing it away fighting Bush's friggen war!
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a.k.a., the Recovery Act, was intended to stimulate the economy while repairing infrastructure. I know the the bridges between me and my job were all repaired, and lots of other infrastructure work was done in Maine. It was not re-funded due to partisan politics, i.e., OMG, Taxes.
I frequently see the meme on facebook about Why are we spending money on foreign aid? We should be repairing roads and bridges at home. We, the US, have cut foreign aid way back. Repairing bridges and roads requires tax money. No argument from me on not spending on war.
posted by theora55 at 6:38 AM on May 2


Two sinkholes, both alike in misery,
In fair Baltimore, here we lay our scene,
Where ancient pipes break to new fissury,
Where civil engineers rate civil works unclean.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:40 AM on May 2 [10 favorites]


Regarding 'sinkhole' - is this not case of an unstable wall collapsing in a landslide, as opposed to an undermining ?

Yes, it is. All those news outlets and city officials calling it a sinkhole are displaying their ignorance.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:50 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


We can't spend more money on infrastructure because I once saw a municipal road worker leaning against his shovel for five minutes. </Local newspaper comments>
posted by octothorpe at 6:57 AM on May 2 [16 favorites]


When you hear someone saying they can't do something because of governmental regulation/ permitting blah blah blah it means that some agency somewhere is a) rightfully blocking their ill-conceived or poorly described project; b) they don't want to pay for legally required best practices and mitigation measures or c) they want to do something downright illegal or prohibited, like build a hotel on the beach in California. Saying that kind of thing to the media is a DIRECT threat to the agencies and the individual employees who are just doing their jobs and don't get paid enough to put up with developers demanding blanket permits for every half-baked plan they come up at the conceptual stage.

I agree agree agree with this. A major part of my job currently is acquiring permits for large and high risk projects, and it's honestly not a big deal as long as you are not trying to do anything illegal and you have done your basic design and engineering work ahead of time (as you should). Even the cultural resource permitting is easy as long as you don't get in stupid fights with the archeologists (as many of the quick-and-dirty private projects I see seem to do) -- that has a predictable timeline as well, and a set of best practices to follow, no big deal.

When things are important or an emergency, it is not a problem to get everything expedited, too. Yes, it would take years to get permits to do something controversial and that is of dubious cost/benefit value, like building a big hydroelectric dam right where people like to boat and fish, say. You'd be tied up in lawsuits and counter lawsuits for years.

But if you need to replace a failing highway bridge, those permits will fly through in record speed, guaranteed. I'm involved in one project that qualifies as an emergency, and permitting that would normally take one or two years (largely because of long comment periods) is going to be done in weeks -- there are standard processes for urgent situations, and no environmental agency is going to stand in the way of repairing critical infrastructure except when that is a fake emergency used to push through illegal work.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:10 AM on May 2 [9 favorites]


But they cut taxes FUCK YEAH AMERICA!

Just imagine if we could have spent one month's worth of tax money on the US infrastructure instead of pissing it away fighting Bush's friggen war!
posted by BlueHorse at 11:09 PM on May 1 [5 favorites +] [!]


Or Obama's for that matter. Give it up folks it has been years and, from what I hear, a miraculous fiscal recovery since Bush was president. You would think that the money Baltimore made from "The Wire" would have been put to good use.
posted by Gungho at 7:18 AM on May 2


Gungho: You would think that the money Baltimore made from "The Wire" would have been put to good use.

what
posted by tonycpsu at 7:20 AM on May 2 [8 favorites]


but building anything in America is a lot harder--and a lot more expensive--than it ought to be.

And that's why we're f*cked, because a smart nation would be investing in infrastructure now, creating jobs in the process, creating or at least maintaining public goods that will pay economic benefits for years. But what we're going to have to do, instead, is go in and pick up the pieces after something like this happens. And with climate change, it's going to happen more often, and it's going to be more costly, and we can't bear that cost, or won't - because those public workers leaning on the shovels will spark the usual resentment in the Fox News hate-the-gub'mint crowd.
posted by kgasmart at 7:32 AM on May 2


A big part of the problem is just that old cities are really expensive to maintain but suburbs are relatively cheap. So the 'burbs can keep their taxes lower than the cities that they surround thereby attracting people to move out there and taking their tax money with them.

And then the suburbanites bitch about how bad the potholes are when they drive into the city for events.
posted by octothorpe at 7:59 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


Residents of this block complained within the past month. The street was patched with asphalt by the city and proclaimed "structurally sound."

Also, at least one resident who lost his car to the landslide was rebuffed by his insurance company, who said he lost his car due to an act of God.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 9:07 AM on May 2


I've been arguing this matter with my Baltimore peeps, who are predisposed to blame CSX for failing to somehow maintain the wall in the absence of any maintenance from the city on the massive drainage problem that's clear from the Street View images of E. 26th in that block.

My contention:

• There's practically no curb, and no proper drains along this block of 26th. Where there was a curb, it's no more than 2-4 inches high and broken up. The walkway is set well back from the curb and weirdly paved in two lanes with raw earth and weeds between, leaving water to drain directly into the clay underneath from the crown of the street and all the surrounding roadway.

• There has already been substantial slumping since at least 1998 as the rain-soaked clay absorbed water with no provision for drainage to the water table (the clay under the roadbed tends to absorb and hold water), and the extra weight has been pressing downwards and against the earth side of the 120 year-old retaining wall.

• In this particularly heavy rain, the combination of undrained water load, liquefaction of susceptible clay, and agitation of liquified soil by the passage of heavy freight trains added up to a rapidly moving load in excess of the carrying capacity of the retaining wall and forced the wall over in a cascading collapse.

I'd suggest that liquefaction of the clay under the verge caused the collapse, and the ground was soaked through because of a lack of any corrective action from those tasked with maintaining the road bed in the city. It's noteworthy that the wall doesn't break and fail in a progressive cascade until near the end—it moves in a single, sold mass with the movement of the mud behind, which you would expect from a still-solid wall being pushed over by a large, heavy, liquefied earth load.

I'll be curious to see what is reported when outside engineering folks come up with their scenarios.
posted by sonascope at 9:45 AM on May 2 [10 favorites]


filthy light thief: "I heard about the B-more sinkhole this morning. I'm out in New Jersey for a transportation conference, so I'm out of my element in terms of weather, and I thought flooded parks and water-logged roads were the norm following a half day of decent rain. After all, it didn't seem like all that much rain, but apparently I was wrong. "

That flooding pictured in New Brunswick is fairly normal. That's why those parks are there, instead of having houses on them. (Buildable land in that area is very valuable. If it were possible to develop those areas, they'd be developed.) You'll only see that much a couple times a year (maybe skipping a year sometimes), and something more dramatic every decade or so (You may recognize some of the places in these photos of the same riverbank. If you travel the area at drier times, you can generally find the high-water marks on trees surprisingly high.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:13 PM on May 2


I don't think it's cut and dried, but the reason there's only 2-4 inches of curb is because the area between the retaining wall and the crack in the street has subsided by about 18 inches over the last 20 or so years.

My guess is that there's been a loss of fine grained soil particles through the face of the poorly maintained retaining wall which caused the subsidence and opened the crack in the pavement. Then dumping 5" of rain into that crack allowed the soil to liquefy, which caused the failure.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 12:45 PM on May 2


'm not saying environmental review is bad or impossible, but as noted, it adds years to major projects

If you've done a good job it shouldn't add any time at all. The design process and public input is longer usually.
posted by fshgrl at 2:02 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


This happened 1.5 blocks from my sister's house. To me, this is doubly worrisome, in that the collapse is adjacent to an elementary school. The school's playground & basketball courts, as well as a community garden, are all the surface level of a block long tunnel that you can see in some of the shots of the collapse. The tunnel is hopefully considerably more sound than this retaining wall was, but it would make me pretty uneasy if it were the court I play on, or sent my kids to.
posted by wormwood23 at 3:10 PM on May 2


CSX seems not so good at maintenance. There have been several incidents with them around philly recently related to poor maintenance - a train derailed on a bridge in Paulsboro, another on a bridge over the Schuylkill, and the 25th st viaduct drops concrete onto cars below regularly. Not much the city can do.
posted by sepviva at 4:35 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


A big part of the problem is just that old cities are really expensive to maintain but suburbs are relatively cheap. So the 'burbs can keep their taxes lower than the cities that they surround thereby attracting people to move out there and taking their tax money with them.

I'm not sure this is actually the case.

There are differences: for example, a city is likely to be paying, in addition to its current workers, the retirement packages and healthcare costs of all its retired workers as well. A suburb which has doubled or quadrupled in population within the last generation will be paying for a much smaller number of retirees, and is less likely to have defined-benefit pensions in the first place, that it has to keep paying for long after the workers have stopped working.

A city has to continually maintain century-old infrastructure-- sewers, retaining walls, bridges, everything. A suburb's infrastructure might largely be less than 40 years old. But it's getting older.

Cities have, at least in the past, had poorer residents, so the same tax rate collects less money. In addition, they have costs associated with poverty-- policing, caring for the indigent, education budgets which must also cover childrens' healthcare. They generally provide some subsidized mass transit. But gentrification reduces cities' costs even as it increases their tax revenue, while the suburbanization of poverty does the opposite.

Cities also have natural advantages. Per capita, they simply have less infrastructure-- fewer square feet of roadway, fewer miles of sewer. Transportation costs, energy use, water use, all tend to be lower in cities. If fuel costs rise, it will hit suburban households hardest.
posted by alexei at 4:14 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Cities also have natural advantages. Per capita, they simply have less infrastructure-- fewer square feet of roadway, fewer miles of sewer. Transportation costs, energy use, water use, all tend to be lower in cities.

Higher population density doesn't necessarily mean fewer utilities. City infrastructure tends to be physically larger as well. Keep in mind that cities have to accommodate the needs of the residents in addition to all the commuters who work in the city during the day, or come to the city in the evening for entertainment. And because cities tend to be more active around the clock, you can have higher construction costs because of more difficult coordination issues.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 6:43 AM on May 5


Also the issue isn't just infrastructure per capita, it's infrastructure per taxable acre and cities have lots of non-taxpaying property. Huge chunks of city land is taken up by government, hospitals, universities, churches and non-profit organizations that generally don't pay taxes but put a lot of stress on infrastructure. Suburbs by comparison are mostly retail, industrial or residential that do pay taxes.
posted by octothorpe at 2:08 PM on May 5


The new construction utility connection fees are a huge source of revenue for suburban areas. They can be in $3-10k range, more if the water and sewer lines need to be extended to your property.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 8:01 AM on May 6


« Older Exactly what the title says. The author is Coli...  |  Bill Simmons, Grantland boss a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments