Friday, January 14, 2011

Federal dollars arenít the solution

So, once again Blaine County goes begging to the feds for $2.5 million in grant dollars to fix a road that has served the public quite well since the 1880s. A bureaucrat has decided the road "doesn't meet county standards"! Hmmm. Likely at least 250 other miles of county roads fit that category. So what? Is that any reason to ask the feds to borrow another $2.5 million to waste on another almost useless idea?

Blaine County went this route about eight to nine years ago in trying to improve East Fork Road. The record speaks for itself. After countless public hearings and exorbitant expenses for engineers and other experts, the county obtained a mile of asphalt costing something like $1.2 million. It could have built the same mile for less than a quarter of the price by using its own crews and dollars from gas-tax and registration fees intended for that purpose, and it wouldn't have taken seven to eight years to accomplish it. As proof, look at improvements to Croy Creek, Gannett Road, Austin Road, Friedman Lane, Lower Broadford Road, Broadway Run, etc. I personally swore off from federal grants after that experience.

A bigger question for the commissioners and the rest of we citizenry is how do we help our federal government salvage itself from the financial sink-hole we find ourselves in, and that is guaranteed to ensure a lower standard of living for upcoming generations? I assure you that spending borrowed millions on a road to solve the perceived problem of an "evacuation route" isn't part of the solution!

Dennis Wright


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