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U.S. Territories Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:46 PM
 
7 posts, read 16,234 times
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While looking around Puerto Rico on Google Earth, I started thinking about how isolated the U.S. commonwealth is to the rest of the nation. This isolation is at least partly to blame for the territory's current economic woes. If PR were to ever become a state, most would agree the economy would need to improve. One way for it to overcome the isolation issue, is to begin the process of constructing "fixed links" (i.e. bridges and/or tunnels) to other U.S. territories in the Caribbean for road, rail, electricity, fresh water, etc.

It would be a phased approach by first linking the PR main island to Vieques, then Vieques to Culebra, then Culebra to St. Thomas, and St. Thomas to St. John. If the U.K. wants to participate, they can partner to fund a link between St. John and Tortola and continue linking other BVI islands beyond that.

While these links won't connect the island to the U.S. mainland, it would definitely tie these islands' economies together for an economic grouping that's slightly less isolated. In the future, as technologies improve, the link could be internationalized and other Caribbean nations could join in.

Last edited by Sunscape; 02-04-2014 at 07:42 AM..
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:28 AM
 
529 posts, read 987,315 times
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The islands are already connected by air and ferries although this last one is somewhat inneficient. To build a road or a bridge is something out of science fiction, at least in our life times.

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are isolated because of culture and history, not so Santo Domingo and surprisingly Cuba. Ther is acra ferry to Santo domingo from Mayaguez and soon a charter air link will be established between San Juan, Havana and Santaigo de Cuba.

An Antillean ( Caribbean) confederacy was thought of even before the U.S. conquered Puerto Rico in 1898. Cuba and Puerto Rico having very similar cultures were thought as the two wings of the same bird until we were cut off by the Cuban revolution.

Although an unincorporated territory of the U.S., everyone in PR now agree it's a colony. We have no emotional links to the English speaking Caribbean, Jamaica, Trinidad and the lesser Antilles.

In fact we don't even have to the United States but no one would say it because no one wants kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. It's our big secret and anyone you ask will deny it! LOL
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:16 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,706,642 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clip314 View Post
To build a road or a bridge is something out of science fiction, at least in our life times.
It's fantastically hilarious and gave me a good laugh! OP, check out the world's longest bridges and why they were built. Check out the length of the Chunnel connecting the UK and France likewise. The cost involved would never be recovered in even thousands of years. Simple ferry service between PR and St Thomas has never been fiscally viable, as neither has the on-again off-again ferry service between St Thomas and St Croix. Google Earth is not your friend in this case!
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Richmond, TX
77 posts, read 255,927 times
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Wow, that first post was really entertaining. First of all let me clarify some things. Puerto Rico is connected to Culebra and Vieques for power by means of underwater cables. PR is connected to Vieques for potable water by means of a underwater water pipe. Building a bridge from PR to Vieques has been proposed and is very doable in terms of construction but the cost would be so astronomical that there's NO WAY to pay it back. Building other bridges/tunnels to the other islands is just impossible unless the Federal government pays for it.

Secondly, the reason the PR economy is declining the way it is, is a POLITICAL reason and it has very little to do with its geographical location. I would even say that its geographical location is one of PR's best assets economically speaking (access to both US mainland and Latin America). Hawaii and Alaska are waaaaay farther from the US mainland and they don't have the economical issues we have in PR. Puerto Rico's problems are caused by the colonial status mixed with incompetent governors and politicians that have made the worst financial decisions for the past 40 years.
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:02 AM
 
529 posts, read 987,315 times
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I have to agree, our colonial status and lack of powers to go out into the world and swim with the sharks is making Puerto Ricans so dependent that it's scary. Puerto Rican politicians only rational is to administer the massive Federal funds coming in from Washington thus contributing to destroying our work ethic and making us more dependent on U.S. tax payers. Its obscene that more than 60% live off hand outs and have no reason to work.

In the mean time the colonial administrators live very well and Washington conveniently looks the other way because to shake the colony, it might be confronted with a massive statehood movement which it doesn't want. Washington knows that the islanders are not willing to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, so they let the colony fester until who knows when.

But Washington always says, "We will give you what ever you vote for".........Yeah right!
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Delray Beach
1,135 posts, read 1,598,861 times
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Puerto Rico should be ashamed of itself.
It could be a gorgeous island for tourism, but it's not, at least when compared to other neighboring islands in the Caribean.
The filth of many of it's beaches and coastline is an embarrassment. The bars on the windows of private homes are a testament to the crime-poverty-laziness ethic that pervades the culture.

Unfortunately, the welfare dependency that has become ingrained in the territory, like a drug administered eternally to a doped up ICU patient, can not be ended else the patient go into spasms of withdrawal that will wreak havoc on the society.
The politicians, who reap the most $$$ from this scheme, have no incentive to change anything.
It's a mess.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:51 PM
 
7 posts, read 16,234 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
It's fantastically hilarious and gave me a good laugh! OP, check out the world's longest bridges and why they were built. Check out the length of the Chunnel connecting the UK and France likewise. The cost involved would never be recovered in even thousands of years. Simple ferry service between PR and St Thomas has never been fiscally viable, as neither has the on-again off-again ferry service between St Thomas and St Croix. Google Earth is not your friend in this case!
I was thinking that either tunnel boring machines or advances in material sciences would improve technologically (which it is already slightly, noticeably) and push down construction costs eventually to a more affordable level.

Unrelated, you know Russia has committed hundreds of billions of US dollars over the next two decades to build a high speed rail tunnel under the Berring Straits to Alaska? Funds have already been approved for the first phase of the project.

To me, linking Caribbean islands is far less ambitious than what Russia wants to do. Am I wrong?
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:01 PM
 
7 posts, read 16,234 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PR Engineer View Post
Wow, that first post was really entertaining. First of all let me clarify some things. Puerto Rico is connected to Culebra and Vieques for power by means of underwater cables. PR is connected to Vieques for potable water by means of a underwater water pipe. Building a bridge from PR to Vieques has been proposed and is very doable in terms of construction but the cost would be so astronomical that there's NO WAY to pay it back. Building other bridges/tunnels to the other islands is just impossible unless the Federal government pays for it.

Secondly, the reason the PR economy is declining the way it is, is a POLITICAL reason and it has very little to do with its geographical location. I would even say that its geographical location is one of PR's best assets economically speaking (access to both US mainland and Latin America). Hawaii and Alaska are waaaaay farther from the US mainland and they don't have the economical issues we have in PR. Puerto Rico's problems are caused by the colonial status mixed with incompetent governors and politicians that have made the worst financial decisions for the past 40 years.
I don't disagree with anything you just said. In fact, I knew all of that when I wrote the OP. Imagine if one day there was high speed rail connecting all the islands in an arc starting from Guatemala to Venezuela. The economic implications are big. Granted, the political conditions today make this undoable, but we can start where we can at least.

See my post above about the Russian Berring Strait tunnel project, which would have an enormous economic impact.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:01 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,706,642 times
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I think if you did a cost effectiveness survey between a high speed rail connection between Russia and Alaska and your suggestion, the disparity would be obvious. But it's good fodder for a futuristic novel!
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:16 PM
 
7 posts, read 16,234 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjarado View Post
Puerto Rico should be ashamed of itself.
It could be a gorgeous island for tourism, but it's not, at least when compared to other neighboring islands in the Caribean.
The filth of many of it's beaches and coastline is an embarrassment. The bars on the windows of private homes are a testament to the crime-poverty-laziness ethic that pervades the culture.

Unfortunately, the welfare dependency that has become ingrained in the territory, like a drug administered eternally to a doped up ICU patient, can not be ended else the patient go into spasms of withdrawal that will wreak havoc on the society.
The politicians, who reap the most $$$ from this scheme, have no incentive to change anything.
It's a mess.
Maybe the Federal government should take a more active role in shaking things up there, instead of waiting on the people to do it themselves. What I mean by this is that we can do something similar to what we did with Japan and Western Europe after WWII. Remember, we sent our economic and industrial experts over there to help rebuild their respective nations. As proof of that policy's success, just look at the Japanese and German economies of today!

Those nations aren't even US territories, but we help rebuild them. As a US territory, we should be doing more to help jump start the PR economy than we did with Japan and Western Europe - or at the very least exactly what we did for those nations. Of course, the argument could be made that we destroyed those countries in order to win the war, so we had a moral obligation to help rebuild. The same argument can be made concerning PR and our involvement in the Spanish-American war.
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