Monday, March 23, 2015

The Bertha Debacle Has Me Wondering How Long Til Fort Worth's Boondoggle Becomes A National Embarrassment

I read an interesting article in the Seattle Times this morning, titled U.S.snoozes while rest of world invests in infrastructure.

The article was interesting for a couple reasons, with the main reason being a look at  how America has fallen behind the rest of the world in the building of infrastructure megaprojects.

The article detailed some of the world's current megaprojects, like a subway tunnel under London and a rail tunnel under the Alps.

The other reason this article was interesting is it provided a real good example of how differently news is presented in a real newspaper of the paper of record sort, such as the Seattle Times, and how news is presented in a newspaper like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

I'll copy that which contains that to which I refer...

The tunnel meant to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct seems to say much of what is wrong with American infrastructure. At $3.1 billion just to replace the viaduct, it sounds outlandishly expensive. Bertha, the tunnel-boring machine, was only recently rescued from useless underground purgatory. It was stuck so long it became a national embarrassment. 

Okay, can you spot what is in the above sentences which you would never read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with its patented Chamber of Commerce type propaganda cheerleader type covering of what should be local news?

If you focused on the "national embarrassment" phrase, you found that which you would never find in the Star-Telegram in covering any of Fort Worth's many embarrassments.

Actually, I think the Seattle Times was doing a bit of humble bragging. Is the ordeal of the stuck Bertha tunnel digger actually well enough known, nationally, to be a national embarrassment?

Can you imagine reading something in the Star-Telegram like "The slow motion Trinity River Vision project, well into its second decade, has become a national embarrassment, with so little accomplished in such a long time."

Or, "The Trinity River Vision's TNT exploding fanfare to mark the beginning of construction of three bridges over dry land, to connect to a non-existent island, has become a national embarrassment."

Or, "The hiring of a Fort Worth Congresswoman's son, J.D. Granger, to be the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision project has become a national embarrassment in the parts of America in which nepotism is seen as unethical and corrupt."

Or, "The Trinity River Vision's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the polluted Trinity River at a venue called Panther Island, where there is no island, has become a national embarrassment."

There is another reason, besides the Star-Telegram's tendency to gloss over and sugar coat, that the Star-Telegram does not refer to any of Fort Worth's foibles as "national embarrassments".

That reason would be the fact that it is fortunate for Fort Worth that the town really is not on America's radar screen. The rest of America knows nothing about Fort Worth's many boondoggles, hence Fort Worth is spared, for now, from being a national embarrassment.

Methinks that may change, sooner than  later.

At some point the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle will reach the level of being 60 Minutes expose worthy.

It will be very amusing watching Kay Granger squirm as a 60 Minutes reporter asks  her to explain how it was that her son, a low level county prosecutor, was deemed to be qualified to run a public works project for which she was expected to secure federal dollars.

Or when that 60 Minutes reporter asks J.D. Granger to explain, in detail, how it is that building three bridges over dry land saves money and why it is those three small, simple bridges are projected to take four years to build.

Or when 60 Minutes asks J.D. Granger to take them on a tour of Panther Island  At that point America will be giggling and Fort Worth will have finally achieved national embarrassment status......


Steve A said...

In Seattle, in my mind, the REAL question is: "Why replace the Viaduct with anything?" The mindless urge to build and rebuild roads is very Texan, even in Seattle. They would never do such in Vancouver BC.

Durango said...

Or San Francisco, another west coast town where the freeway ends before entering the town. Then again, I have always found navigating the streets of San Francisco and Vancouver to be a bit more challenging than towns through which a freeway runs...