A couple months back I noodled writing a whacky column in which I advocated scrapping much of the interstate highway system, replacing it with a massive series of tunnels along the lines of the Big Dig. The benefits included:
1) gainful employment for millions of Americans including many who shouldn’t go to college.
2) the wholesale scrubbing of auto-generated car exhaust from the air (I’d have someone create really cool air filters for every tunnel) to please the enviros and global warming folks
3) the aesthetic improvement of the landscape as there would be fewer highways cutting across America’s vistas (If you want to drive across country fast, use the tunnels. If you want to see the country, use the scenic highways).
4) increased productivity as goods and people moved more rapidly.
5) sweeping cuts in other government make-work, pork and entitlements in order to pay for it.
6) huge decreases in road kill fatalities for any number of cute animals.
7) a new existential enemy — the morlocks and/or molemen — to help galvanize our civilization and help us find common cause with our current surface enemies.
I sent some preliminary inquiries out to a handful of my economics and engineering “guys.” The universal consensus: “Put down the crack pipe.” From almost every perspective it wouldn’t work and cost trillions in the process. One engineer said this would make airborne volcano lancing look easy.
Still, if only the idea wasn’t completely idiotic, it would be brilliant!