Monday, May 04, 2009

Who's getting swindled?


Stimulus-funded Florida bridge draws criticism.

A town in FL gets some stimulus money for a bridge but some folks don't want it:

"The president should know that this is a boondoggle, and he is getting swindled," said Odias Smith, who has been fighting the bridge for decades and is suing the state Department of Transportation to try to stop it.

Got that? The President is being swindled. Not the taxpayers.

Some folks are for it:

"Those of us in favor of the bridge can't believe that we became so fortuitous that in a time of a recession when jobs are down that we actually found the money and have the opportunity to build this bridge that we've been planning now for literally over 20 years and now it's a reality," Mortell said.

Finders keepers, losers weepers!

But is it shovel-ready?

"I'm flabbergasted, to tell you the truth, because my understanding of the stimulus money was it was supposed to be for shovel-ready projects that could be completed in three years. This is not shovel-ready," she said. "We haven't acquired the land necessary for right of way. We don't have plans for it."

The Florida DOT says it has purchased 33 of the 63 pieces of property it will need to complete the bridge, and it expects to have all of them acquired by February 2011. But Smith said some people might refuse to sell.

Well, they've acquired more than half the land they need, and can get the rest via legal land-grabbing - otherwise known as eminent domain - so what's the problem?

"[A county commissioner who is against the project] "probably misinterpreted what shovel-ready means," [the chairman of the planning commision] said. He said the bridge has already been designed and all federally required studies have been completed, so work on some parts of the project can begin right away.

And, hey, if it gets halfway done and we find out we can't finish, well... at least some folks got back to work for a while, right? I'm sure there'll be some stimulus money left over for unemployment compensation.

(I have no idea why this spacing is so weird.)

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