Sunday, March 10, 2013

Government Dysfunction And Crumbling Infrastructure

It's not just for the U.S.:
It's the world's most heavily trafficked man-made shipping lane, but since Wednesday few ships have been seen on the 100-kilometer (62-mile) long Kiel Canal, which cuts through the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein to form a roughly 450-kilometer shortcut between the North and Baltic Seas.
Although the canal is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, it has been the subject of financial disputes for years between Berlin and the state. Last year, the German government even reduced the money available for maintaining the canal from €60 million ($78 million) to just €11 million, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported Friday. Years of neglect have led some of the locks on the canal to fall into such disrepair that it had to be closed on Wednesday to most ship traffic.
As the Süddeutsche noted, the shipping lane was planned during the 19th century under Kaiser Wilhelm in order to ensure that ships "could get from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea without having to pass by Danish canons." The canal first opened in 1895, and, with relations far friendlier today, it forms a vital link for trade within the European Union and to Russia.
We're going to see a lot of stuff like this in the near future.

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