Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Public Policy?

After reading the unanimous approval of the new Columbia River Crossing replacement bridge project, in which a team of so-called 'experts' have been at work for several years now pushing a proposal for a new bridge across the Columbia River for I-5 between Portland and Vancouver, Washington... I must say, I'm not really surprised anymore.

I would just like to ask the government officials exactly what the point of all this 'stuff' is - and by stuff, I mean infrastructure: sewers, roads, transit, schools, hospitals, parks, bridges, and the like. I mean... we're in the middle of a massive population boom in the state of Oregon right now, but noone really has been able to grasp or direct any energy at, or articulating a vision, at what our region - and our cities - are going to become.

At the same time, with plans on spending billions of dollars on new bridges, light rail, freeways, and schools, it seems like the political process is the dominant force for directing all this work. Unfortunately, many people have a conflicting vision of what we'd like our city, our state, our homes to become.

The new mayor promotes cycling, then votes on a new bridge. Our governor calls for people to bike to work - then practices it just once, as if bicycling one day out of the year will really make much of a difference. What happened to action? What happened to backing up your talk with action, and real money? To me it seems like the classic bait and switch, calling on the progressive vote with false promise of change, only to spend money on the big-ticket 1960s-era infrastructure projects.

And as I last noted, we probably won't even need any of it. Especially now considering how much press and popularity alternative modes of transportation are getting, for instance.

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