Sunday, March 1, 2015

One Year To Build A Floating Bridge While In Fort Worth It Takes Four Years To Build Three Bridges Over Nothing

No, that is not some sort of artist's rendering of a Trinity River Vision Boondoggle bridge you are looking at here.

What you are looking at is a pair of floating bridges crossing Lake Washington from Seattle to Mercer Island.

Mercer Island is a real island, not an imaginary island of the sort to which Fort Worth builds bridges.

The bridge on the left was built in one year, opening to traffic on June 4, 1989.

Yes, you read that correctly, this bridge was built in one year. And, obviously, unlike the Fort Worth Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing, this bridge was built over water. Actually built on water, what with that floating thing.

That train you see crossing the bridge is a Link Light Rail train, heading towards Bellevue, Redmond and the Microsoft campus. This particular link of the Link Light Rail system was approved by voters in 2008.

That approved by voters thing is what caught my attention when I read the Wikipedia article about Link Light Rail after a fellow former Pacific Northwesterner asked me if I knew what the current status was of the Seattle zone's light rail projects.

Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has never been voted on by the local voters. Due to lack of funding this project relies on federal handouts, courtesy of J.D. Granger's mama, Kay, who recently somehow sent $17.5 million more of those federal dollars to her boy's playpen, under the guise of the money coming from the Army Corps of Engineers, for some supposed flood basins about which no one knows anything.

If Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision had been the result of a public debate and a public vote the result likely would not be the embarrassing slow motion boondoggle we now see, with three simple bridges taking an astounding four years to build, with no project timeline for the rest of the project, such as the digging of the ditch over which the bridges are being slowly built.

I have extracted five paragraphs from the Wikipedia article about the Seattle zone's Link Light Rail. These five paragraphs are a very instructive example of how things happen to get done in progressive, democratic parts of America....

In November 1996, voters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties approved increases in sales taxes and vehicle excise taxes to pay for a US$3.9 billion transit package that included $1.7 billion for a light rail system, including Central Link and Tacoma Link. Over the next several years, debates raged over various issues surrounding the Central Link line.

Sound Transit's Phase 2 plan, under the name of ST2 (Sound Transit 2), is the plan for the second phase of Link Light Rail expansion. ST2 was put before voters in November 2007 as part of the "Roads and Transit" measure, which included hundreds of miles of highway expansion along with the light rail, but failed to pass. Sound Transit then put another ST2 plan on the ballot in November 2008. The measure passed by large margins. The plan will extend light rail to Lynnwood Transit Center in the north, S. 272nd St. in Federal Way to the south, and Downtown Bellevue and Overlake Transit Center to the east.

Northgate Link Extension is a future extension of Central Link partially approved by voters in November 2008. It will connect the University Link project currently under way to a central University District station, Roosevelt, Northgate, and points north. Once Northgate Link Extension is complete, the major urban centers of downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, the University District, and Northgate will be connected via light rail. It is a top priority for Sound Transit as it will add over 40,000 daily riders to Link Light Rail by 2030, easing pressure on the Interstate 5 corridor.

Proposition 1, the measure on the ballot in 2008, included extensions of Central Link north to Lynnwood Transit Center, via the stations described above and Jackson Park, Shoreline, and Mountlake Terrace. The ballot measure also includes funding for a study to develop possible routes for a future extension of Central Link to Everett. As the extension to Lynnwood Transit Center will be finished in 2023, it can be assumed that an extension to Everett would not be completed until well after that year. An extension to Everett would require a separate, future measure.

In November 2008, voters approved the construction of an East Link light rail line connecting the city of Seattle to Mercer Island and the Eastside communities of Bellevue and Redmond as part of the Proposition 1 measure. This line will split from Central Link just south of the International District/Chinatown Station in downtown Seattle, extend across the I-90 bridge express lanes through downtown Bellevue and serve the Overlake Transit Center, including Microsoft headquarters.

What a concept. Voters voting to approve various measures, with public debates thrown into the mix, influencing the decisions made as to how to move forward. With a project actually moving forward in a timely fashion.

And the result?

A complex public works project coming to fruition, with the public enjoying the benefits of that for which they voted.

No local Congresswoman's unqualified son hired to direct the project so as to motivate his mama to secure pittances of federal funds.

A project with a project timeline, with actual construction goals, publicly stated. A pubic works project which authentically integrates public opinion into decisions made, not make believe "user requested amenities" of ridiculous sorts of the type The Boondoggle claims results in their fairy tale nonsense, like the Gateway Park Masterplan.

Four years to build Three Bridges Over Nothing.

Longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Longer, by far, than it took to build the world's newest floating bridge. Longer than it took to build Grand Coulee Dam. Longer than it took to build the Empire State Building. Longer than it took to build the Panama Canal. Longer than it took to build Disneyland.

After well over a decade of Trinity River Vision nonsense what has The Boondoggle seen of its myopic vision?

Rockin' the River Happy Hour Floats in the polluted Trinity River. A tacky music venue bizarrely named Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island, where there is no pavilion. A beer hall called The Shack. The first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century. Plastering a plethora of signage in all sorts of location, now touting the imaginary Panther Island.

And those bridges, those three very ordinary, very small bridges, being built over dry land, with The Boondoggle's misleading propaganda claiming this construction method is being used to save money, with the ditch under the bridges dug later, when the truth of the matter is there currently is no funding to dig the ditch.

All Ma Granger has been able to come up with of late is $17.5 million, supposedly to dig some flood control basins, supposedly currently being dug, because J.D. Granger said that money he got from his mama and the Army Corps of Engineers was going to be quickly put to use, and it is supposedly those flood control basins those federal dollars are intended for....

1 comment:

Mary said...

Excellent article!