A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Highway Robbery

Here is a story (via the Drudge Report) about road rage in construction sites, and about a man pulling a gun on a road crew. While I don`t condone such behavior, I certainly understand it.

The Republican Congress went on a spending spree, and spread funds throughout the country for the ostensible purpose of repairing the highways. Remember how angry we all were at the spendthrift holiday we witnessed? Our ``conservative`` friends put Tip O`Neil to shame, blowing huge amounts of cash on ``needed improvements`` to our national infrastructure-in other words, they were buying votes. What has this wrought?

The logical approach would be for the respective highway departments to start one project, and work it till completion. Of course, this is the government, and their Mafia-connected contractors, so the logical approach will be broomed under the asphalt carpet; what the beneficiaries of Uncle Sam`s largesse have done is start projects EVERYWHERE at once, projects that will take years to complete (if at all) and will require more money down the road-which is, of course, the whole point. As travel becomes increasingly more difficult, commuters become more frustrated, and the governmental response is to lower speed limits in the endlessly congested construction zones and impose draconian fines on people violating those ridiculous limits. The idea of speeding the construction projects along never occurs to the nitwits we have running this country; the only thing they understand is the imposition of law on the individual, that and the money they can make by screwing the harried commuter. It is truly revolting!

Here in St. Louis we have miles of road construction on every thoroughfare ingressing and egressing the City. Our major artery to Illinois-the Poplar Street Bridge-has been down to one lane for quite some time, and traffic waiting to get across the Mississippi River is backed up 5 miles in both directions. There is absolutely no way of planning your time (something vitally important to me, given my line of work) because you never know what spots will be open or closed. The infuriating thing is that you will see miles of orange cones with a dawdling posted speed limit, and will either see nary a soul or will see 5-10 construction workers standing around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes while one person leisurely digs with a shovel. It is little wonder that these projects never finish. As soon as one job is done they begin another.

If they would concentrate their efforts on one project at a time, they could finish in a timely fashion and the roads would remain clear. As things stand, I believe they are engaged in something nefarious; I think they WANT the roads impassable, to encourage voters to demand more highway funds. When I think about this matter, a cold rage smolders within me.

It`s apparent I`m not alone in this, and people are becoming increasingly angered by this endless construction. The authorities bemoan construction zone accidents and road rage, and their solution is to make matters worse by punishing the innocent driver whose only desire is to make it to work on time, or be able to get to their doctor`s appointment on the scheduled day. I find that attitude doubly infuriating!

I advocate a reform whereby a time limit is set for construction on a particular patch of highway. If the limit is not met, the contractor and the highway department should have to pay a mounting fine. If they know they don`t have the luxury of piddling, they will get cracking on these jobs and see they are completed in a timely manner.

It only took one year and 45 days to complete the Empire State Building, and I`ve seen private construction firms slap skyscrapers up in a fraction of the time required by the highway department to repair a quarter-mile strip of road. There are sections of the highway which have been under construction for 4 or 5 years now, with no appreciable progress. This is absolutely unacceptable.

If you give a governmental entity all of the money it wants, you will see progress slow to a standstill. We need to make Congress revisit this issue, and funding should be tied to progress, before people start shooting at construction workers and highway patrolmen enforcing the ridiculous zone speedlimits.



Blogger I. Shawn McElhinney said...

Well said Tim. (You need to blog more IMHO.)

10:52 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Great to hear from you again, Shawn!

Thanks! (And you`re right; I really need to blog more. Time is always so short...)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Don Bangert said...

This sounds like a case that's ripe for an injection from free market competition.

6:11 AM  

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