Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Seattle's Stalled Bertha Tunnel Fiasco & Fort Worth's Stalled Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

I saw that which you see here on Seattle's KOMO TV website this morning. I read the article about Seattle's stalled tunnel project expecting to see it referred to as The Big Bertha Boondoggle.

Turns out it was only a couple Republican lawmakers wanting to stop Bertha, while Washington's governor, and others, still consider it to be a viable,  necessary project.

And not a boondoggle. Yet.

Washington state lawmakers and the governor weigh in on this project because the state is involved in the funding, due to the project involving a state highway.

Fort Worth, in Texas, also has a big public works project sort of underway, known by some as the Trinity River Vision, but referred to, by many, simply as The Boondoggle. The state is not much involved in funding Fort Worth's Boondoggle. The federal government is sort of involved in funding The Boondoggle, but Fort Worth's Congresswoman, Kay Granger, has not been very successful in securing federal earmark pork barrel money to help pay for the job which was given her son, J.D., to motivate his mama to get those federal dollars, in part to pay her son's yearly salary of well over $100,000, plus perks.

Awhile back someone asked me to explain what a boondoggle was. I was a bit boggled that knowing what a boondoggle is was not run of the mill common knowledge.

Wikipedia has a good Boondoggle article which explains both the concept and the origin of the term "boondoggle". In part what Wikipedia has to say about a boondoggle is....

A boondoggle is a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy or political motivations.

The term "boondoggle" may also be used to refer to protracted government or corporate projects involving large numbers of people and usually heavy expenditure, where at some point, the key operators, having realized that the project will never work, are still reluctant to bring this to the attention of their superiors. Generally there is an aspect of "going through the motions" – for example, continuing research and development – as long as funds are available to keep paying the researchers' and executives' salaries.

The situation can be allowed to continue for what seems like unreasonably long periods, as senior management are often reluctant to admit that they allowed a failed project to go on for so long. In many cases, the actual device itself may eventually work, but not well enough to ever recoup its development costs.

Seattle's Bertha Tunnel Project is funded in the normal way public works projects are funded. The Bertha Tunnel Project, in its entirety, is projected to cost $3.1 billion. For those billions Seattle gets a re-built waterfront, gets rid of an earthquake damaged elevated highway, and gets a tunnel through the downtown zone, if Bertha ever gets moving again.

Before Bertha stalled, if I remember right, the Bertha Tunnel project was projected to be completed in 2017.

Currently in Fort Worth, due to not being funded in the normal way public works projects are funded, The Boondoggle is boondoggling along in slow motion, currently with Three Bridges Over Nothing being built, with a four year project timeline, longer than the Seattle Viaduct Replacement-Waterfront Re-Build-Bertha Tunnel Project was projected to take before Bertha stalled.

It is a mystery to me why the Fort Worth locals don't get annoyed at the antics of Fort Worth's Dunce Confederacy, that being the Good ol' Boy and Girl Network which runs Fort Worth in what is known as The Fort Worth Way.

Meaning the town is an oligarchy, not a democracy.

The raw, galling hubris of the Fort Worth Dunce Confederacy is amazing at times.

One example quickly comes to mind, that being having a big ground breaking ceremony a couple months ago for the Three Bridges Over Nothing.

A shovel turning dirt was not good enough for this momentous occasion. A big explosion set off by a big TNT plunger plunged by key members of the Dunce Confederacy, such as Kay Granger, her son, J.D., and Fort Worth mayor, Betsy Price, was needed to mark the start of the slow motion construction of three simple bridges, scheduled to take longer to build than the Golden Gate Bridge.

The explosive groundbreaking ceremony included speechifying full of propaganda, such as Kay Granger claiming Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was the largest urban water project underway in North America.

Apparently Fort Worth's Congresswoman is not aware that Los Angeles, California is in North America, with its own river vision and downtown revitalization, with the LA vision not being a boondoggle boondoggling in slow motion.

How come it seems to be an issue to no one but me that J.D. Granger is being paid so well, for so long, for a job for which he has zero qualifications, and which is being so incompetently implemented, as evidenced by items like the slow motion construction of Three Bridges Over Nothing, connecting to an imaginary island, which may one day be a make believe island if a ditch is ever dug under the Three Bridges Over Nothing?

If Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle had been funded, like a normal vitally needed project is funded, this project would have long ago been completed, with Fort Worth enjoying its alleged benefits, with J.D. Granger enlisting his mom's help in finding another job for which has was not qualified that he could help turn into another boondoggle....


Steve A said...

Hmm, Bertha wa a four-year project and is now stalled until who know when. Benefits to anyone could be questioned at this point. TRV bridges could all be described similarly. Oh, neither proposal was ever voted on by the public. There WAS an advisory ballot on the viaduct replacement, but all options presented were rejected by wide margins. Check wikipedia for more details.

Durango said...

Steve A---The Wikipedia article about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel was interesting. That article had the total cost at $4.1 billion. Yikes. For a 2 mile tunnel, plus some other. Though there was no public referendum type vote, the public was very much involved in debating the pros and cons. The article had a link to another Wikipedia article, about The Seattle Process, also known as The Seattle Way. I'd not seen the Seattle way of debating and voting stuff to death described as The Seattle Way before. The way it was described The Seattle Way is about dead opposite of that which is known as The Fort Worth Way.