A Crusader’s View – 9.07.10
Posted: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:08 pm
By: Jeremy Thayer, Guest Columnist
Hello once again! This week’s subject is an odd one to say the least. The Press sometimes gets editorial submissions that it cannot publish, because of printing space or time restrictions. This one is of no exception.
Dr. Tracy C. Miller of the center of Visions and Values at Grove City suggested to The Press in a column, that we need “transportation taxes” used specifically for road repairs and maintenance.
To begin on this unconventional subject, many other states have done or still are doing such methods of taxation supposedly to be used only for road improvements. It sounds good on paper at least but, as we can plainly see with our current Obama administration, when you give sums of money to elected powers, those “powers” tend to dip their hands into the cookie jar for their own “pet projects”, wants and agendas.
Such is the case in my birthplace of Michigan. They have an elaborate tax system that hits you in different forms, such as “at the pump” or when you get your driver’s license to tell a few. All supposedly designed to pay for road repairs and new construction.
However, as history shows us, almost every time you put power and money in the hands of a bureaucrat, you get chaos.
One good example of this is The Zilwaukee Bridge.A high, segmental concrete bridge which spans the Saginaw River in Zilwaukee, Mich.
When the need for a replacement of the original bridge became dire, the construction of the now current structure was plagued with difficulties.
Construction began in 1979 with an expected completion date of three years.
However, because of red tape diplomacy, foreign designers and shoddy contractors which were selected by the Michigan legislature, the bridge would not be available for traffic for nine years!
The initial budget was $79 million. In the end, this enormous sum for disco-era 1979 was exceeded by more than $48 million!
To make matters worse, in 1982 with the bridge two-thirds complete, a 150-foot long, 6,700-ton segment was not properly counterbalanced and sank five feet out of alignment while rising 3.5 feet on the other end, cracking a pier footing in the process.
Once costly repairs were made, a new contractor was hired to complete the bridge only after the initial contractor and the state agreed to terminate their contract in exchange for both sides dropping their lawsuits over the accident.
To add to the fun in the latter stages, during construction of on- and off-ramps connecting the bridge to an existing highway, workers uncovered a toxic landfill containing PCB-contaminated waste, making cause for an expensive environmental cleanup.
In closing, to rebut the findings of Dr. Tracy C. Miller, I do not believe that we need to aggregate new, large sums of money to be set aside for politicians to so-called “repair our roads.”
Michigan’s roads are in my opinion some of the most pot-hole riddled and damaged roads in the country, even though they have many taxes set aside for repairs.
Knowing this by my own experiences, I think that Tennessee is doing just fine the way that it is.
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