Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wondering Again Why Fort Worth Does Not Vote On Public Works Projects While Other Towns Do

No, on the left you are not looking at an artist's rendering of the little lake envisioned in the Trinity River Vision Panther Island Boondoggle.

The size of the lake and the mountains in the distance likely clued you that this is not a view of anything Fort Worth related.

What you are looking at is the new floating bridges crossing Lake Washington, connecting Seattle with towns to the east, like Redmond, where Microsoft lives.

That is an East Link light rail train you see on the north floating bridge. The East Link is part of a $2.5 billion project, one of America's largest and most expensive transit expansions.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth the TRVPIB may soon start building its three non-signature bridges to nowhere, built over an imaginary flood diversion channel for which there is no funding to build.

I don't believe anyone in the Seattle zone has the hubris to refer to the above bridges as signature bridges, even though they are quite unique, with something like 4 of the world's 5 biggest floating bridges doing their floating over water in Washington.

Now, where am I going with this?

Well, yesterday something had me reading the Wikipedia article about Venice. That somehow had me going to the Wikipedia article about Seattle, in which I found the following paragraph interesting when it occurred to me that I would read nothing of its kind if I read the Wikipedia article about Fort Worth....

Seattle has started moving away from the automobile and towards mass transit. From 2004 to 2009, the annual number of unlinked public transportation trips increased by approximately 21%. In 2006, voters in King County passed proposition 2 (Transit Now) which increased bus service hours on high ridership routes and paid for five Bus Rapid Transit lines called RapidRide. After rejecting a roads and transit measure in 2007, Seattle-area voters passed a transit only measure in 2008 to increase ST Express bus service, extend the Link Light Rail system, and expand and improve Sounder commuter rail service. A light rail line from downtown heading south to Sea-Tac Airport began service on December 19, 2009, giving the city its first rapid transit line with intermediate stations within the city limits. An extension north to the University of Washington is under construction as of 2010; and further extensions are planned to reach Lynnwood to the north, Des Moines to the south, and Bellevue and Redmond to the east by 2023. Mayor Michael McGinn has supported building light rail from downtown to Ballard and West Seattle.

Read the above and make note of how many times this century Seattle and King County voters have voted on various transit measures, funding various transit projects. If I remember right the vote that resulted in Seattle's first rapid transit line took place in the 1990s.

Also in the 1990s Seattle voted five times on a measure to extend the Seattle monorail. The first billion dollar measure passed. But some voters did not like the plan. So another measure was put to a vote and then another and another and another and finally the monorail extension was killed, replaced by the Link Light Rail, which now seems obvious to most everyone is a much better idea than extending the monorail.

Now, isn't it interesting how a town like Seattle puts public works projects to a public vote and thus secures funding, which results in completed projects, some of which have been voter approved and completed during the period of time the Trinity River Vision Panther Island Boondoggle has been dithering along, with no public vote.

Is it even legal in Washington to have public works projects which the public has not approved of by voting?

It's likely not a legal issue which has the public voting on public works projects in Washington. It is likely more of a common sense type deal.

As in, if a public works project is legit and will benefit the public, the public can be sold on the benefits of the project and will agree to be taxed to fund the project.

The cabal which runs Fort Worth knew its bizarre economic development plan could not be approved by any sort of public vote. Such a measure would not stand the scrutiny of an actual election campaign where actual legit questions would be asked and need answers before voters would vote to approve.

Questions like how can this be a flood control project when the area of the project has not flooded in over a half a century, kept dry after massive levees were built to contain the Trinity River as it passes downtown Fort Worth?

How could approving to fund the flood diversion channel be given a go ahead by voters when to this day there is no engineering plan in existence as to how the flooding water is to be diverted and how much the mechanism to do so is going to cost to build?

Would the voting public have voted yes for an economic development project disguised as a public works project when that project required using eminent domain to take the property and livelihoods of dozens upon dozens of their fellow Fort Worthers?

Anyway, methinks the only way the Trinity River Vision Panther Island Boondoggle can ever actually be something someone can see is if the project is legitimized by being put to a public vote resulting in the public agreeing to be taxed to fund the project because the public sees the project will greatly benefit everyone.

I know snowballs chance in hell that will ever happen.......

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