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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Its Takes a Crisis

A brief summer break just took me to Cape May, New Jersey, where a 100-foot canal cuts a 3-mile swath between the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay.

As I experienced on the trip to and from Cape May, you can't drive 10 miles on the East Coast today without delays due to some random road-, bridge- or tunnel-repair project poking along at a snail's pace. 

The Cape May Canal reminds me it takes a crisis to move Americans.

The canal had boosters as far back as 1841 (the riptides around Cape May are treacherous); but no work was begun until 1942, when Nazi submarines lurked beneath the Delaware Bay, targeting American ships. 

After the subs sank a few the year before, FDR okay'd the dig, to give ships a waterway around the subs.

Construction by the Army Corps of Engineers started in August and wrapped up seven months later.

Today, Americans tackle public projects with the vigor of garden slugs. 

Other countries complete roads, bridges and tunnels in the time it takes our governments and contractors to arrange the preliminary bid meeting.

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