Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Transportation hub is a boondoggle


    Mountain Rides is greatly out of its realm when it takes on the mantle of designer and builder of street intersections.
    Mountain Rides designed a new configuration of a perfectly good and well-functioning intersection of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue.
    The new configuration with bulb outs impedes traffic and pedestrians and is called Ketchum Transportation Hub, hiding the boondoggle and kluge behind an impressive euphemism. The existing intersection has been serving that euphemism function more than 50 years.
    Driven by the need to spend $312,000 granted by two federal agencies for an ill-conceived and then waste-canned bus transit center, Mountain Rides came up with a reconfigured street intersection that buses pass through. That sanctifies the kluge as somehow bus-related and so still deserving of the grants. The city of Ketchum and the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency bought in on the deception and contributed $17,000 and $100,000 each.
    Mountain Rides put in $28,000, totaling $457,000 of federal and local taxpayers money for a totally unnecessary and detrimental new configuration of the Sun Valley Road and East Avenue intersection.
    Mountain Rides paid $92,000 to have the reconfigured intersection designed but didn’t ask for an estimate of construction costs for the project. It was blind-sided when local bids came in at $744,000 and $1,370,000 for constructing the new intersection.
    Mountain Rides has only $365,000 left for construction.  It intends to value engineer the project to reduce costs and hopes to hit up the federal agencies again for more taxpayer dollars for a kluge which buses drive through and which parks and stores six buses curbside around the intersection. Odds are the kluge won’t be built.
    Ketchum, KURA and local taxpayers can swallow their losses, and Mountain Rides can graciously give back $312,000 to the federal agencies and call it a sad lesson well learned. The existing intersection is good enough for another 50 years.
Milt Adam
Sun Valley




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