||This article appears in the June 23, 2017 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
NEW YORK ‘SUMMER OF HELL’ CHAOS LOOMS
No Piecemeal Infrastructure Approach
Possible: U.S.A. Requires New Paradigm
[Print version of this article]
June 20—As at least 1.5 million commuters are already aware, what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called the “Summer of Hell” begins on July 10. If leading officials in the New York Metropolitan area do not quickly change the way they are thinking about the rail and tunnel situation, it will truly become hellish, in ways they cannot even imagine. At issue is a tunnel and rail system that is more than a century old, which moves millions of people in and out of Manhattan every day. After derailments in early April, it became clear that repairs to the tracks at Penn Station could no longer be delayed, so these urgently needed repairs are set to begin on July 10. This means a reduction in the number of trains entering Penn Station, which will affect Long Island and New Jersey commuters, who will have to find alternative routes to get into the city.
There’s the Rub!
Since necessary action on the overall rail grid has been so long delayed, and what has actually been done has been squeezed to miniscule proportions due to budget constraints and small-mindedness, there is no redundancy in alternative routes that can accommodate a 20% increase in commuters. The rush-hour traffic by car is already intense; the bus lanes through Lincoln Tunnel are at or above maximum capacity; and the same is true for the other rail lines. Governor Cuomo is reportedly trying to make emergency repairs on crumbling roads to handle the extra automobile traffic, and in New Jersey, Morris County and Essex County commuters will be rerouted to the PATH train’s Hoboken station, but these trains are also already at or over capacity as well.
In April 2019, the L train line will be closed for 15 months to repair the Canarsie Tunnel, damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A proposal to reroute the G Train to help address this problem was shot down by MTA representatives, who say that there are already too many trains using the proposed alternative line. What no one is saying straight out, is that we have reached the end. That is, there is no redundancy. The entire system is at the breaking point, and closing one section for repair or maintenance risks pushing another section over the limit. Better for half of New York City to just take a two-month vacation somewhere else. Helga Zepp-LaRouche pointed out today, that unless there is a comprehensive plan to solve this, and people are informed of it, there will be chaos and potential upheaval.
There are already hints of such chaos as the overloaded system groans on—even before the scheduled reductions in service. In early June, a subway car got stuck in a tunnel and the temperatures inside became sauna-like, while the passengers waited for 45 minutes for the train to move. Now, passengers are breaking out of stalled trains and walking on the tracks to get to work—an extremely dangerous proposition.
The Solution for Tomorrow—Today
A few weeks ago, Lyndon LaRouche called for assembling a committee to put forward a solution to this crisis. That committee is being assembled. This problem cannot be addressed through public-private partnerships and piecemeal, localized plans. China is building transcontinental, high-speed rail corridors in Asia, South America, and Africa. We must think like the Chinese, and join their Belt and Road Initiative. As we develop real high-speed rail—that is, trains that travel at 250 mph—Boston and Philadelphia will become part of this region. New York City will be the center of it. The new tracks and stations must be planned to serve a vibrant region of East Coast commuters for at least 50 years into the future. Adding sky lights and shopping centers to Penn Station will do nothing, except waste time and money.
The only way to fund an infrastructure program on the scale that is needed, is in the way that Lyndon LaRouche has proposed in his Four Laws. First and foremost, stop the hemorrhaging with Glass-Steagall. No more trillion-dollar “quantitative easing” (QE) packages; that money is worthless! The banks must be separated by function—that is, solvent commercial and savings & loan banks must be separated from speculative investment banks. That step must be followed immediately by the creation of a top-down system of national banking and credit, as President Abraham Lincoln did with his successful Greenback policy.
The purpose of such a Federal Credit System is to increase the productivity of the American people, through investment in, and development of advanced technologies, which will also create mass employment in new, productive jobs. Jobs which can become careers, as opposed to taking in each other’s laundry, as millions are now doing with the informal, app-based, slave-labor economy of today.
Finally, all of this must be driven by a commitment to harnessing thermonuclear fusion power to supply mankind’s ever-increasing need for energy. Not only will a modern rail grid require an abundance of electricity, but moving mankind into space, to learn the secrets of the universe, and develop breakthroughs in science, means developing nuclear-powered rockets as President Kennedy envisioned.
Since New Yorkers are known for being outspoken, cosmopolitan, and impassioned individuals, it is unlikely that they will sit passively on the sidelines as everything breaks down. If this passion can be focussed properly, on working with President Trump to implement his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and through American system methods, as LaRouche has proposed, the summer may well be hell, but the knowledge that a better future will result from current difficulties will avert complete chaos. On the other hand, if leading officials persist in their foolishly small-minded, money-worshipping state of denial exhibited thus far, expect a very hot summer of chaos and upheaval, with no end in sight. It’s up to you.