December 06, 2007
Leadership Vacuum Lingers
The ongoing story of how long-overdue projects in Lewis County - to be funded with relatively recent gas tax increases - aren't being built only feeds the mood of the general public that Olympia isn't responsive.
The Viaduct fiasco and related lack of leadership was quite a demonstration to the populace that Olympia has trouble solving tough problems. And as much as a natural disaster is just that, when infrastructure problems are continually not being addressed because government(s) can't get its act together then sooner or later someone is going to feel that at the ballot box.
Posted by Eric Earling at December 06, 2007
10:27 PM | Email This
1. It's Olympia and the local electeds that can't handle transportation planning: Viaduct, Monorail, ST, RTID, SR 520, I-405, nickel-package projects - the list goes on and on. It's a sick joke and the punch (line) lands on us.
2. It is not at all clear that "Olympia" is responsible for this. The Times and P-I coverage, which I thought quite good, gives the very clear impression that county and city officials were unable to agree on these projects and enable them to go forward. At the very least, it's a good idea to find out what the facts of the matter are before making facile generalizations about the responsiveness of Olympia, don't you think? I'm not sure what the facts are at this point, and I doubt very much that you do. As value added, this post is nil.
3. As far as all that roads/infrastructure goes, yes--things really COULD be done a lot better. Dino can point that out and people should be able to stop, think and realize--"Yah, where the heck is all that gas tax money going???"
While the politicians deserve a good deal of criticism fro the lack of progress is dealing with our transportation infrastructure problems, it is how special interests insinuate themselves in the decision making process and litigate every detail that is a far larger problem.
This problem will not be solved without leadership at the top. Consensus will not solve the problem.
Are you listening Dino?
5. Agreement on a flood prevention plan for the the sake of agreement would benefit no one. Lewis County and the city governments of Chehalis and Centralia have not agreed to previous plans because (by their studies) those plans protect I-5 but not the homes and farms of the Chehalis River Valley. To me it sounds as if Olympia has been attempting to ram home a plan to make sure the I-5 freight gets through to Puget Sound, but with little thought to protecting residents of Lewis County. If this is the case, I'd tell Olympia to "shove it" too.
6. Friar, The flooding in of I-5 is just another example of Olympia's ineptitude. Don't forget the three ferrys taken out of service when the Governor knew for a years they needed replacement and did nothing. (Thank you Doug MacDonald.) The 11th street bridge in Tacoma was never maintained and is now closed. (The state had the funds for maintenance for the past 50 years and, again, did nothing.) And does anybody remember the sinking of the old I-90 bridge because the hatches were left open? That cost the taxpayers tens of millions. To those that know about road design, how about highway 167? Built across a giant valley with only 4 lanes when there were room for 8. Now, in order to be widened, all overpasses will have to be rebuilt. In Seattle the bus tunnels were built with the train rails the wrong width and the stations built at the wrong height for light rail. The new 520 bus stop at the Park `N Ride is not accessable by Seattle's articulated buses. As in Lousiana, when you elect "progressives" this is what you get.
7. I believe that the Friar is leaving out a few players, Indeed DOE was involved in the discussions, they always are with any waters of statewide significance, DNR and then there is the Army Corps of Engineers. Everybody has their interests at the table and it is very difficult to get anything done. Too many jurisdictions leads to inaction, delay and usually higher costs.
In a public meeting, a WSDOT official made the statement that Lewis County doesn't vote right.
That should give us a hint on why the freeway gets improved right to the county line and then the work runs out of money.
Leftist politics for 25 years is the reason why.
friar, your last sentence was 'spot' on.
Eric, good comment. All the politicos get blamed whether they are at fault or not. I don't know why the local US Democrat Rep can't somehow be brought into this. Usually, these reps get involved by sitting in on meetings regarding federal funding and coming up with solutions- i.e. money.
Like I said, this next year can be a banner year for Republicans if they want one.
Two revealing comments posted below an online, storm-related P-I column this morning. One poster noted the contrast with New Orleans regarding the manner in which SW Washington residents pitched in and helped their neighbors rather than whining to the government for handouts. The second poster was lamenting the Federal Government's failure to assist (thus far) and attributed it to Washington's "blue-state" status. That poster then snickered that the affected areas, however, were Republican.
The second poster answered the first: Lewis County is strongly Republican and its citizens are more than willing to help each other. No FEMA cash cards or trailers wanted or needed by proud and independent folks. Most help will come from neighbors, friends, family and private contributions.
11. I talked to some family living in the Boisfort/Chehalis area last night. There are some real tough stories of the flood. One involves a dairyman who milked his 200 holsteins the night before the rain really picked up. He herded them all up to higher land when the storm hit. But when it came time to be milked again the next day, the cows returned, and all met their deaths in a swollen river. Two hundred dead cows makes for an awful sight, along with elk, deer, and a ton of other dead critters. My family in the area reports large bon fires -- people are burning ruined goods, animals that died in floods, and everything in between. Where's Governor Gregoire?
12. Walters, it's hard to see what the 11th Street Bridge in Tacoma and the 520 Park 'n Ride bus stop have to do with flooding in Lewis County. When you have some actual, relevant information to share, please get back to us.
13. As much as it pains me to say this, it ain't necessarily because of the Liberals. The folks in Chehalis and Centralia have been building on flood plains on the west side of I-5 for years. Local governement gave the green light for construction to fill in and constuct atop of mounds (like the Walmart and Home Depot box stores featured in the flood videos). That seems like a really, really bad idea to me and I have a feeling that it had more to do with green (which is not aligned with any particular party). When you displace acres and acres of flood plain, the water that once filled that space during floods has got to go somewhere-else.